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Thought experiment: imagine the universe is a simulation!
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Zarathustra
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WF, Davies's argument does not rely upon the premise that real universes are rare, just that fake universes would quickly out number them. I am NOT saying I agree with his argument. You asked for a reason why people with think this idea is likely, and not just possible (along with the bizarre conjecture that someone is trying to fool you) & I quoted at least two other people who provided similar answers to your question.

WF wrote:

Thank goodness this is a thought experiment, and no one is trying to CONVINCE US IT'S TRUE, eh?
do you think I actually believe we are in a simulation? I'm confused by your implication. Who do you think is trying to convince you of something? Why are you using this as the basis to challenge the premise of my thread when I was it being generous to answer your question after stating I would treat your further involvement as trolling? You ask why it would be likely. I provided information. Do with it what you will. There are more arguments than the one that you think you refuted. Similar logic applies even if you assume there is only one real universe. A civilization could run a million different simulations. However you get to that point, once the possible number of simulated universes is recognized as more than the real universe(s), it becomes increasingly likely that we are in one of these simulated ones.

This game could be so much more fun if you stop pretending that there is some enemy you must defeat. No one is trying to trick you. You can relax.

Imagine there is no enemy
Its not hard if you try
No tricks below you
Above you only hypothetical simulated realities that are fun to imagine and discuss. . . .


(Might need a little work still. ) Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:


WF wrote:

Thank goodness this is a thought experiment, and no one is trying to CONVINCE US IT'S TRUE, eh?


do you think I actually believe we are in a simulation? I'm confused by your implication. Who do you think is trying to convince you of something?


i'm pretty sure that was directed at me. i could be wrong so best to ask.

Wayfriend...dude...you snarkin at me?
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or possibly Davies 🤷‍♀️ and Bostum

Isnt he simply saying Davies is operating from a self conflicting premise?

Suggesting that, and possibly only that, the intitiators of Simulation Theory are seeking to establish theorem credibility across the proposed articulated assumptions .. a number of which require greater clarity.

Its fascinating to me that Simulation Theory could manifest consciousness. But what is the form of consciousness that IS manifest. Awareness of self and the environment as simulated? Per the parameters programmed? Interpreted by components to the simulated universe (us) as an incremental capability of intelligent thought? Using say a portion of our intellectual capability, as the saying goes? Ok what else? Artificial intelligence? Deducible sentience?

If the elements requisite for producing consciousness are met? Perhaps .. we can map its development... consciousness. Who we? The components of the simulation? Or the we that created the simulation?

But we know that physicality is necessary .. and simulated physical form could deliver the necessary data requiring consciousness to receive and process it.

Making consciousness reducible not irreducible even within the simulation.. as the process is itself identical to any "reality" outside of the simulation.

The simulation itself would demonstrate and replicate the "reality" beyond the program. Arguably, then the process of consciousness is known and confirmed by the simulation.

Now I might be way off the track here but attempting to get my head around these concepts.

But I think if we assume an advanced civilisation created the simulation .. they can indeed be gods. The development of consciousness then would or could be anticipated, affected and driven by the code that created it.

Then the question of perception, which is subjective within a possible objective set of parameters? And of course the question of reality? A simulated reality and what that might mean.

I think Davies or the Bostums assumptions upon which he bases his premises on need closer investigation.

If this is a simulation, it is a self replicating simulation and highly detailed or the simulation components (us) have become independently sentient and are a new life form independent of the simulation yet bound within the simulation.

But thats not where Davies or Bostum seem to be going.

The fact that we no longer cling to the philosophical notion of substance .. we are no further forward, because substance itself is replicated. 🤔 No doubt it still must be addressed in an alternate reality as well as a possible reality ACTUAL.

Looking in at the simulation we can observe the role of mind, matter and math, no?

Ok its late .. still not entirely confident I completely get it.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, lucimay. I'm suggesting that posting quotes about how simulation is the only logical conclusion a reasonable person can have strains the credibility that this is meant to be a discussion of a thought exercise.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WF, the only thing I'm trying to convince people of is that the idea is important enough to talk about, to consider. I used to find no worth in the idea. Now I do. If you don't, no one forces you to discuss it. I did create an entire thread where you are free to bash the idea.

I have never before seen an idea that solves the Hard Problems of math, matter, and mind, while simultaneously explaining the measurement problem and wave collapse in quantum mechanics, in addition to why the universe has a speed limit. That's one of the most powerful ideas I've ever heard of (and honestly, I haven't read anyone else who has put together all those concepts into one explanation, so I'm a bit proud of myself for having done so).

Again: I'm not saying I believe it. I have no idea. But what does it say about our reality that the best explanation of its deepest mysteries is that it's a simulation? Even if it's entirely false, I think that's an important question to ask. Why would reality be a place that invites speculation that it's not real?

Those are the kinds of questions I'd like to hear others answer. I think it might be yet another way to say what many philosophers have considered throughout history since at least Plato, namely, that reality is not what we think it is. Maybe our concept of reality is much too rigid. Maybe the Cave is much larger than we thought. Maybe the "things in themselves" are pure information, and as such, we *do* have direct access to them, contrary to Kant.

And in the end, even if we're not in a simulation, this line of thinking reveals that some of the biggest questions of our existence can be answered with a very specific experiment. We might get to the point where we could run this simulation ourselves. If we could design a universe that leads to the evolution of life that becomes conscious and intelligent enough to produce its own computers and simulations and ask these very questions, then we will have proven what I've been saying this simulation idea proves.

Think about that: if we built a simulation where something appeared to be consciousness arose--not from our attempts to replicate consciousness by mimicking what our brain does and building machines to do that--but rather by a "natural" process of evolution from the bottom-up, through simulated matter, through natural selection, etc., we will be sure that we have actually produced consciousness, and not merely the simulation of it, because it will have developed on its own precisely in the manner that we assume our own developed.

These are all very powerful ideas that we never even get to if we're stuck at the beginning, questioning whether the concept is worthy of discussion.

Why don't you lay out your best argument against the worth of this idea in the other thread? I'll join you there and give my best argument why I think it's not pseudo-science according to the criteria I've listed.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not the best explanation. As it doesn't explain anything.

... In an infinite number of universes, one of them must have produced a super being able to master all universes and direct them as they will. Therefore, we must live in a universe directed by the will of a superbeing. Everything that happens happens because the master wants it to happen. All of physics is explained. Hand me my Nobel.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
No, lucimay. I'm suggesting that posting quotes about how simulation is the only logical conclusion a reasonable person can have strains the credibility that this is meant to be a discussion of a thought exercise.


oh. k. Smile
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~ alan bates, the mothman prophecies



i've had this with actors before, on the set,
where they get upset about the [size of my]
trailer, and i'm always like...take my trailer,
cause... i'm from Kentucky
and that's not what we brag about.
~ george clooney, inside the actor's studio



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, trying to make sense of this line of thinking.

Assuming, for the moment, that we are NOT a simulation. The meaning/form/abstract structures are in regards to the material. They are essential to consciousness. It's likely consciousness wouldn't exist without them, and I don't know what the point would be. But the meaning isn't sufficient for the emergence of consciousness. The material, itself - the brain - is necessary. Both for the emergence of consciousness, and its continuance. Our consciousness is inextricably bound up with the material. We would not be conscious without our physical brain. Despite there being meaning/form/abstract structures everywhere in the material, our consciousness, and every other consciousness we are aware of, is not comprised ONLY of those things. It is dependent on the matter.

If a consciousness emerges within any computer simulation we make, we do not have reason to believe it would not be as dependent on the matter - the hardware: flowing electrons; circuits; etc - as our does, even if it also owes its existence to the abstract structures, as ours does.

The nature of our consciousness is, to a large degree, shaped by the material. It is dependent on, and interacts with, the material constantly, and a large percentage of the contents of our consciousness deals with the material. For example, gravity plays a huge role in our material lives, and our consciousness is not unaware. Consciously and unconsciously, our consciousness takes gravity into account every moment of our lives.

The matter from which a consciousness within our simulations might emerge is very different from the matter from which our consciousness emerged. Ultimately built from the same "stuff", but expressed in very different ways. Ours has great variety. Think of every kind of matter and energy we are familiar with. The variety of the matter in which the simulation runs seems much less varied to us. But even if it appeared as varied from the perspective of an emergent consciousness, it would be very different from ours.

For example, I assume gravity is inconsequential to the operation of computers and programs. It would be inconsequential to a consciousness that exists within a computer/program. Maybe - just maybe - the abstract structures we put into the simulations, like gravity in GTA5, would have absolutely nothing to do with the formation of an emergent consciousness. At the level of programs, gravity doesn't exist. The structures might confuse it. Because they depict forms/meaning that do not exist at that level, the structures might interfere with, even prevent, the emergence of consciousness.

I think what I'm saying is, any evolution within the realm of computer programs that leads to consciousness would have to be on its own terms. It could not emerge based on the terms of our perspective. There need to be programs that do not have anything to do with our perspective; nothing to do with our needs.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
It's not the best explanation. As it doesn't explain anything.

... In an infinite number of universes, one of them must have produced a super being able to master all universes and direct them as they will. Therefore, we must live in a universe directed by the will of a superbeing. Everything that happens happens because the master wants it to happen. All of physics is explained. Hand me my Nobel.
Even if there are an infinite number of universes, there is nothing about infinity which necessitates 'super beings,' no more than an infinite amount of space would imply breaking the laws of physics. Just because an infinite amount of possibilities would arise in an infinite number of universes doesn't mean that any of these possibilities would be supernatural.

Constructing dumb arguments and pretending that they are similar to mine doesn't make my argument dumb. You've merely created a derisive caricature . . . as you've been doing this entire discussion. It's amazing how much energy you have for such a tactic. I wonder when you will tire of making fun of this idea and my points.
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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: Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just as it's possible that those infinite monkeys on their typewriters might never hit the letter e.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist, yes, our minds are dependent upon our brains; however, this dependence is a deep mystery, a Hard Problem. One solution to how matter can produce something that seems so different from itself is that perhaps matter isn't actually material, but pure structure. So, since we can't actually say what matter is, the fact of our dependence on it doesn't put any constraints a priori upon how that fact is interpreted. Even assuming that we're not in a simulation, we can't rule out the possibility that matter is nothing more than structure. Our reality is already compatible with that possibility, and the Hard Problems of mind and matter already invite this interpretation--though that isn't proof, admittedly.

Fist and Faith wrote:

If a consciousness emerges within any computer simulation we make, we do not have reason to believe it would not be as dependent on the matter - the hardware: flowing electrons; circuits; etc - as our does, even if it also owes its existence to the abstract structures, as ours does.
True, but this dependence is even more tenuous and removed than the dependence discussed above. There seems to be a level confusion in your argument. There is a distinct difference between A) building a computer that acts like our brain, "simulating" consciousness through a reductive approach, and B) writing computer code that simulates matter itself, and allowing that matter to evolve into simulated organisms with simulated brains--an emergent approach. In A, the "brain" is hardware. In B, the "brain" is software. So the dependence of the (hypothetical) consciousness in B is, in the 1st order, dependence upon a simulated brain. Its dependence upon matter is a 2nd order dependence, i.e. the computer software running on hardware. But that second order dependence isn't responsible for the production of consciousness, as it is in our brain. Our brain produces consciousness directly. Somehow, matter arranges itself in the right structures to produce consciousness. But those structures are structures of matter. In the simulated brain, those structures--which produce the consciousness--are structures of code. We have removed the substance of matter by simulating ONLY it's structure.*

Therefore, if it's possible to produce consciousness in this way, we MUST recognize that we're producing consciousness in an entirely different way than our brain does. It is so different, it would be like writing characters in a novel who become alive and real. If that happened, it would still be true that the words describing them are printed on a physical page, but the fact that these letters formed a conscious being must be recognized as a level of reality beyond the physical dependence of the letters printed upon the paper.


Fist and Faith wrote:
The nature of our consciousness is, to a large degree, shaped by the material. It is dependent on, and interacts with, the material constantly, and a large percentage of the contents of our consciousness deals with the material. For example, gravity plays a huge role in our material lives, and our consciousness is not unaware. Consciously and unconsciously, our consciousness takes gravity into account every moment of our lives.
This is a great example to illustrate the difference: simulated beings wouldn't be subject to our gravity at all. They literally wouldn't feel it, and the motions of objects in their world would in no way exhibit effects of it. The absolute freedom from our gravity upon the movement of these objects is exactly parallel to the freedom of simulated consciousness from the hardware running the code that simulates the matter making up the simulated brains.


Fist and Faith wrote:
The matter from which a consciousness within our simulations might emerge is very different from the matter from which our consciousness emerged.
That's an assumption, assuming the very thing in question, namely, that there is a difference between simulated matter and real matter. If there is no substance at the core of material structure, then there literally is no difference. And if you can produce consciousness in a medium that has had its substance removed, by modeling only the structures of matter, then you have proven that substance itself isn't a necessry ingredient to make something REAL (rather than merely a simulation). Therefore, the assumption that there is a difference between real matter and simulated matter, namely it's alleged substance, it's proven to be an unfounded assumption.


Fist and Faith wrote:
Maybe - just maybe - the abstract structures we put into the simulations, like gravity in GTA5, would have absolutely nothing to do with the formation of an emergent consciousness. At the level of programs, gravity doesn't exist. The structures might confuse it. Because they depict forms/meaning that do not exist at that level, the structures might interfere with, even prevent, the emergence of consciousness.
If simulated gravity held simulated matter together into a simulated world and dictated the possible paths that evolved creatures could take, then simulated gravity would play exactly the same role on simulated consciousness as real gravity played in the development of our consciousness.

*[ B would also be distinct from a third possibility C: simulating a brain at the level of neurons, where each neural connection is modeled by computer code. Asssuming it is possible to produce real consciousness this way (which I doubt), this would only show how consciousness arises from neural firing patterns, and not how consciousness arises from matter itself. In other words, it would not eliminate the substance of matter from the equation like B does (I think).]
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is matter isnt just physical? What if matter is not only what is currently understood as material?

Like that one article that posed the problem of matter and mind be inverted .. to consider mind the hardware or structure and the physical body the software?

What if electro chemical exchanges in the brain FORM a different kind of structure than a material one?

I dunno .. gotta fly and buy wooden planks for building window flower boxes
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Constructing dumb arguments and pretending that they are similar to mine doesn't make my argument dumb.

Yes, in your adamant refusal to accept that any criticism of the simulation theory as legitimate, I tried a new approach, reductio ad absurdum. It's fine if you don't recognize it as such, but you have an argument with more people than I if you don't consider it a valid form of rational argument.

Zarathustra wrote:
there is nothing about infinity which necessitates 'super beings,'

Do you then accept that every form of intelligent life either dies out or reaches a point where they make no further scientific advances? Because unless this is so, then super beings are inevitable.

But that's neither here nor there. There are probably an infinite number of similar arguments one could construct. The universe is a simulation; the universe is controlled by super beings; the universe is a dream in some other consciousness; the universe is a recording being played back; the universe is a reality tv show. They all can demonstrate that they are a sound logical conclusion, but they cannot all be correct.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend wrote:

Yes, in your adamant refusal to accept that any criticism of the simulation theory as legitimate, I tried a new approach, reductio ad absurdum. It's fine if you don't recognize it as such, but you have an argument with more people than I if you don't consider it a valid form of rational argument.
As I've said, I created a thread for that, specicially with you in mind (I notice you still haven't posted there). So it's not true that I refuse any criticism of the theory as legitimate. I just didn't want to bog down this thread arguing the first point over and over.

A reductio ad absurdum assumes the argument is true and then shows that doing so leads to an absurd result, invalidating the premise. You are just comparing it to ridiculous, unrelated things and pretending it's similar, a kind of 'false by association' fallacy.

This theory doesn't propose that advanced aliens (or humans) will become able to master the universe, much less all universes. It only supposes that they'll be able to do something we already do ourselves, except at a level exponentially more sophisticated. There is nothing 'super' here. Creating simulations, even really really good ones, isn't at all like mastering all universes. Come on, you have to recognize that's a ridiculous and dumb comparison. You can't just compare an idea to anything whatsoever and pretend it's a reductio.

Wayfriend wrote:

But that's neither here nor there. There are probably an infinite number of similar arguments one could construct. The universe is a simulation; the universe is controlled by super beings; the universe is a dream in some other consciousness; the universe is a recording being played back; the universe is a reality tv show. They all can demonstrate that they are a sound logical conclusion, but they cannot all be correct.
These are all more unrelated, dissimilar caricatures. You know how you can tell? You won't have MIT professors of physics taking the idea seriously. You won't see Neil deGrasse Tyson host a panel of scientists for the Isaac Asimov memorial to debate those issues for two hours. You can't name a single way to test them. You can't name a single thing they explain in an explicit, specific manner.

What you're doing is the equivalent of this:

"String theory? You might as well call it Ball of Yarn theory. Boom, I just proved that string theory is ABSURD. Because I compared it to something absurd."
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
These are all more unrelated, dissimilar caricatures.

Dude, just because you can invent a nefarious reason for what I do doesn't mean I do it for a nefarious reason. That's just you being the you that pisses people off so much.

I think they are extremely similar arguments, making the exact same logical fallacy. Pointing them out is very useful, as seeing the fallacy in one would help one see the fallacy in the other.

Zarathustra wrote:
You won't have MIT professors of physics taking the idea seriously.

Now, I KNOW you know that "appealing to authority" is a logical fallacy.

Zarathustra wrote:
What you're doing is the equivalent of this:

No it's not. What YOU'RE doing is equivalent to this:
"Aliens created humans".
"That's like saying God created humans - you're claiming intelligent design."
"What next? A ball of yarn created humans?!?! You're just mocking me."
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
These are all more unrelated, dissimilar caricatures.

Dude, just because you can invent a nefarious reason for what I do doesn't mean I do it for a nefarious reason.
Describing something as a dissimilar caricature isn't inventing a reason, much less a nefarious one. It's a critique of your argument. For some reason, you are determined to frame your argument by comparing my position to something silly. So far, you've used:

God bowling
Priests
Superbeings, masters of universes
Dream in another's consciousness
A recording being played back
Reality TV show
Magic

Why do you need all these other things to talk about this one thing? It is nothing like any of those things. How about we just stick to the idea itself? If it has problems, you should be able to point those out without reference to unrelated things.

Quote:
That's just you being the you that pisses people off so much.
Personal attack. Nice.

Quote:
I think they are extremely similar arguments, making the exact same logical fallacy. Pointing them out is very useful, as seeing the fallacy in one would help one see the fallacy in the other.
Describe the similarity. ?

Quote:
Zarathustra wrote:
You won't have MIT professors of physics taking the idea seriously.

Now, I KNOW you know that "appealing to authority" is a logical fallacy.
It's not a logical fallacy. It's one way to delineate science from pseudo-science. Science is what scientists DO. None of the things you listed fall into that category. What I'm describing does, because they are debating, proposing ways to test it, and listing the criteria by which they'd accept it. Ignoring this difference (between this idea and your caricatures) won't make it go away.
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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 08, 2019 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Why do you need all these other things to talk about this one thing? It is nothing like any of those things.

It is UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY like those things. Which is my point. And I have explained why it is like those things in each and every case. And you've refuted it by pointing out that they are different in other ways.

"Believing we live in a simulation is like believing in magic, because you're ascribing whatever happens to an inscrutable force."
"No it's not the same -- computers aren't magic!"

I am sorry that shit like that doesn't fly. But it doesn't.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
Why do you need all these other things to talk about this one thing? It is nothing like any of those things.

It is UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY like those things. Which is my point. And I have explained why it is like those things in each and every case.
No, you haven't. If they were "utterly and completely" like those things, it should be easy for you to explain why they are similar. Take a recording or reality TV show. What's the similarity? People on reality TV shows know they're on a show, they can see the cameras, they can leave the set any time, etc. A recording is a static storage of data, the same every time its played. But a simulation can be easily altered and unfold in unexpected ways every time. That's the point of running simulations! To see something new, unexpected, or to test a hunch, or to see how different values affect the outcome, etc. The differences vastly outnumber the similarities (whatever those are).

wayfriend wrote:
And you've refuted it by pointing out that they are different in other ways.
Which refutes the "utterly and completely" thing, right? If they were "utterly and completely" like those things, then I wouldn't be able to point out any differences whatsoever (not unless you're using "utterly and completely" figuratively, which would be extremely strange, or if you're using it as just a foot-stomping, tantrum-like insistence that you are right in spite of the fact that I can shoot down every one of your points). It doesn't matter how I point out differences. Computer simulations aren't like reality TV shows, except in as much as there might be an audience and the word "reality" has a fluid, ironic meaning.

Now, explain to me how you'd test whether or not we're on a reality TV show, and why mainstream scientists don't take the idea seriously. Those are HUGE differences, which you just ignore.

wayfriend wrote:
"Believing we live in a simulation is like believing in magic, because you're ascribing whatever happens to an inscrutable force."
"No it's not the same -- computers aren't magic!"

I am sorry that shit like that doesn't fly. But it doesn't.
That's not the only time you've mentioned magic. Sometimes you leave out "like" and say "is EXACTLY magic," or "it's magic," or "what it IS," or "resorting to magic." Like here:

Wayfriend wrote:
Answers arrived at by resorting to magic and conspiracy theories should not satisfy real scientists.

Technology beyond our ability to see, appeal to, or affect is EXACTLY magic. Calling it a different term, and saying it arises from a different source, doesn't change that it's magic.

Magic is magic because of what it IS - positing that something outside of nature - e.g. supernatural - is the cause of things.


Forget Arthur C. Clarke for a moment. Just because IGNORANT people can't distinguish one thing from another doesn't mean that these two things are the same. Sufficiently advanced technology might fool ignorant people into thinking that it's magic, but you can't argue from their perspective that this is the literal truth. It remains figurative, and that comparison is ALWAYS dependent upon the people making the comparison being DUMB (especially if they know that such a thing as technology exists, and it's merely a case of being an advanced form of what they already do themselves).

Ditto the claim about "something outside our universe." Computers are technological--not magical--whether they exist in this universe or some other one. They don't become magical if they leave the universe, or if they originate there. Scientists posit things outside our universe all the time, like parallel universes, multiverses, etc. These things aren't identical to magic just because they lie beyond our laws of nature. It's possible that other universes can operate by different laws, without that being supernatural/magical. For instance, if another universe had different values for the universal constants (e.g. speed of light, the gravity constant, ratio of mass between proton/electron, etc.) these would lead to wildly different realities. But they're just variations on the very same possibilities here. Magic, on the other hand, wouldn't operate on physical laws of ANY natural universe. And if you're calling something "magic" which is in fact something that operates on the physical laws of another universe, you're just illustrating your ignorance of those laws. That's it.

If people in another universe painstakingly figure out the natural laws of the universe and build computers using that knowledge, it's NOT fucking magic for them to run simulations on those computers. There is a difference. It's not God bowling. Figuring out the laws of nature--wherever you are--and applying that to build machines that help one to discover the truth is the EXACT FUCKING OPPOSITE of God bowling. This entire line of thinking ASSUMES that they are using natural principles to make machines, just as we do. That's the starting point. It also assumes that they have finite computational abilities, which would make the simulation detectable in its "rounding errors," etc. This entire line of thinking relies upon NATURAL limits, like entropy.

That's enough. Q fucking E.D. You are wrong.
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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 08, 2019 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now, moving on. For those who are interested, here's David Chalmers's take. (He's the one who defined the Hard Problem of Consciousness.) Go to 5:30 to see where he thinks this idea doesn't undermine our reality. I agree! In his words, "it makes our knowledge of the external world much more robust than it would have been otherwise." It combats the skeptic who says we can't know about the external world.
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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: Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Fist, yes, our minds are dependent upon our brains; however, this dependence is a deep mystery, a Hard Problem. One solution to how matter can produce something that seems so different from itself is that perhaps matter isn't actually material, but pure structure. So, since we can't actually say what matter is, the fact of our dependence on it doesn't put any constraints a priori upon how that fact is interpreted. Even assuming that we're not in a simulation, we can't rule out the possibility that matter is nothing more than structure. Our reality is already compatible with that possibility, and the Hard Problems of mind and matter already invite this interpretation--though that isn't proof, admittedly.
Again, I don't see what the HP of matter is. Matter is not what our intuition leads us to believe it is. That's all. Get over it. (Not talking about you. Laughing) Again, as many have said, including both of us recently, it is due to forces. Things like electron repulsion.

And at the base of it all? Again, my money is on strings. Strings of vibrating energy. Vibrate one way (or a combination of ways, in different spatial dimensions), and it is what we call a photon. Vibrate another way, and it is what we call an electron. Another way, a quark.

I couldn't guess how strings combined in certain ways could act in ways that are not (what we have always called) materially reducible.

Zarathustra wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:

If a consciousness emerges within any computer simulation we make, we do not have reason to believe it would not be as dependent on the matter - the hardware: flowing electrons; circuits; etc - as our does, even if it also owes its existence to the abstract structures, as ours does.
True, but this dependence is even more tenuous and removed than the dependence discussed above. There seems to be a level confusion in your argument. There is a distinct difference between A) building a computer that acts like our brain, "simulating" consciousness through a reductive approach, and B) writing computer code that simulates matter itself, and allowing that matter to evolve into simulated organisms with simulated brains--an emergent approach. In A, the "brain" is hardware. In B, the "brain" is software. So the dependence of the (hypothetical) consciousness in B is, in the 1st order, dependence upon a simulated brain. Its dependence upon matter is a 2nd order dependence, i.e. the computer software running on hardware. But that second order dependence isn't responsible for the production of consciousness, as it is in our brain. Our brain produces consciousness directly. Somehow, matter arranges itself in the right structures to produce consciousness. But those structures are structures of matter. In the simulated brain, those structures--which produce the consciousness--are structures of code. We have removed the substance of matter by simulating ONLY it's structure.*

Therefore, if it's possible to produce consciousness in this way, we MUST recognize that we're producing consciousness in an entirely different way than our brain does. It is so different, it would be like writing characters in a novel who become alive and real. If that happened, it would still be true that the words describing them are printed on a physical page, but the fact that these letters formed a conscious being must be recognized as a level of reality beyond the physical dependence of the letters printed upon the paper.
You have no facts on which to base what I highlighted. It's speculation. It may be correct. But it may be wrong. As I will say again below, we could not know that such a consciousness was not dependent on matter unless it could exist free of matter. And we could not know it was able to come into being without matter unless it came into being without matter. Granted, we don't know how to make simulations without matter, so I don't know how we could test this. (Not that it matters. We haven't been able to do it with matter anyway. First things first, eh?) Unquestionably, the different scenarios would reveal different things about consciousness. But that they can be free from matter would not be one of them.


Zarathustra wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:
The nature of our consciousness is, to a large degree, shaped by the material. It is dependent on, and interacts with, the material constantly, and a large percentage of the contents of our consciousness deals with the material. For example, gravity plays a huge role in our material lives, and our consciousness is not unaware. Consciously and unconsciously, our consciousness takes gravity into account every moment of our lives.
This is a great example to illustrate the difference: simulated beings wouldn't be subject to our gravity at all. They literally wouldn't feel it, and the motions of objects in their world would in no way exhibit effects of it. The absolute freedom from our gravity upon the movement of these objects is exactly parallel to the freedom of simulated consciousness from the hardware running the code that simulates the matter making up the simulated brains.
I'll get back to gravity below.


Zarathustra wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:
The matter from which a consciousness within our simulations might emerge is very different from the matter from which our consciousness emerged.
That's an assumption, assuming the very thing in question, namely, that there is a difference between simulated matter and real matter. If there is no substance at the core of material structure, then there literally is no difference.
In which case you would be able to program a simulation of your dream house, and move into it. But you can't. Because there is a difference between simulated matter and real matter.

However, that's not what I was talking about. I was talking about the difference between the brain and the computer. Both built from the same things (whether strings or something else), they are very different hunks of matter. I'm saying, if the matter from which a consciousness emerges plays a role in the nature of that consciousness, then consciousnesses emerging from these two very different hunks of matter would be very different.

Zarathustra wrote:
And if you can produce consciousness in a medium that has had its substance removed, by modeling only the structures of matter, then you have proven that substance itself isn't a necessry ingredient to make something REAL (rather than merely a simulation).
The substance has not been removed from the medium in your scenario. The medium is still running on - created by and entirely dependent on - the hardware of the computer. You can only prove that substance itself isn't a necessary ingredient to make consciousness if you find a consciousness that came into being with no substance.

You would not prove it even if you removed the consciousness from the computer - from all substance - and it survived. You would only prove that it can endure without substance, not that it was able to come into being without the involvement of any substance.

Zarathustra wrote:
Therefore, the assumption that there is a difference between real matter and simulated matter, namely it's alleged substance, it's proven to be an unfounded assumption.
If that scenario was entirely free of, rather than entirely dependent upon, matter. Which it is not. However, even if we could find a way to have the simulation without the involvement of any matter whatsoever, that would not have been proven. It could be that, though the consciousnesses we have known until now require matter, consciousness is possible without it.


Zarathustra wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:
Maybe - just maybe - the abstract structures we put into the simulations, like gravity in GTA5, would have absolutely nothing to do with the formation of an emergent consciousness. At the level of programs, gravity doesn't exist. The structures might confuse it. Because they depict forms/meaning that do not exist at that level, the structures might interfere with, even prevent, the emergence of consciousness.
If simulated gravity held simulated matter together into a simulated world and dictated the possible paths that evolved creatures could take, then simulated gravity would play exactly the same role on simulated consciousness as real gravity played in the development of our consciousness.
Sure, if it happened that way. I'm suggesting a possible reason why it couldn't. If a consciousness is going to emerge from a simulation, it could be that the simulation and the hardware running the simulation both play a role in shaping that consciousness. Our consciousness surely came about because of the combination of the matter and the meaning. In our reality, matter and meaning are _ harmonious. I'm suggesting that, if the meaning contradicted the matter, consciousness would not have emerged. Possibly (Hey, this entire topic is outright speculation, so I'm entitled.) consciousness cannot emerge among such a contradiction. Gravity is the weakest of the forces, right? How much weaker is it from the perspective of a computer? Do programmers have to take gravity into account when they code? Of course not. Gravity holds the computer down on the table or floor, but it does not exist as far as the operation of the hardware and energy, and the programs, are concerned. So how could a consciousness emerge with the "brain and body" of electrons flowing through wires, circuits, whatever the hell computers are made of, where gravity does not exist, when the simulation says gravity is an overriding fact of existence?

Like I say, it's all speculation. Whether or not I'm clearly expressing what's in my head, I'm not sure. But I think I have a case. The emergence of a consciousness such as you are proposing would prove me wrong. So far, I have not been proven wrong.

In the meantime, maybe we should figure out a way to set up the conditions of a computer simulation that are better suited to the conditions of a computer, and see if a consciousness emerges from that.
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