Monday, August 3, 2009

We Live in a Simulated Universe. Nothing is real. Proof at Last!

Well, maybe “proof” is a bit much. But, according to these guys (http://www.simulation-argument.com/) it is significantly likely that we inhabit a simulated universe as opposed to a 'real' universe. The argument seems to boil down to this:


1. A “real” universe can come about via two means:


A. By design
B. By natural processes.


2. It is very difficult to get a real universe, of the kind we have by either of these two means. Consider the universe’s immense complexity, order and size. For all of that to come about by natural processes is unlikely. For all of it to come to be by the works of some sophisticated designer is only as likely as is the likelihood of that designer. While it is not impossible that a “real” universe (such as ours apparently is) did come about either by design or nature, in fact that outcome is less likely (because of the complexities involved) than would be the genesis of something less impressive contained in the impressive (if you know what I mean): Consider, also that it is probably a rare thing that advanced technological civilizations arise in those real and impressive universes. Once again, not impossible all this, just very rare. Difficult to attain, as it were.

A “simulated universe” something like our present-day computer based gaming universes, is impressive, alright, but not nearly as bighairyimpressive as the real deal. These sims are far less complex, so more likely to come into being, “easier” to construct, once you are lucky enough to have a real universe with advanced technological civilizations contained. What is more, given some of these civilizations, you will end up with more than one simulated universe being contained in that real universe, at least one each, for each advanced technological civilization (and in actuality probably more than one of these sims for each civ). Imagine that there is a real impressive version of some game like 'Civilization Vulcan', running on many many PCs and Macs on the real planet Vulcan. There would be, in that case, many more sim planet Vulcans than real Vulcans. And, assuming the people running around in those sims are in fact people, and self aware, even though generated by computers, you would have many more simulated Vulcan persons than real Vulcan persons.  Given that the "real" is less likely than the "simulated," it seems we can say this when we take a God's eye view of the universe, or all possible universes, if there are more than one:


3. At any given time, there will be more simulated universes than actual universes. There will be many more sim people than real people.


4. Suppose the ‘multi-verse’ view of things I've assumed above, according to which our real universe is one of many that bubble up out of quantum fluctuations in some massive meta-cosmic lava lamp. (3) entails that for each one actual universe bubbling up in the lava lamp, there will by many simulated universes contained within it. To strain the analogy, the ‘sim-unis’ are the many tiny air pockets you can see in the individual “lava” lamp lumps...*er*...if you know what I mean.

5. A sim-universe can mimic a real universe to a degree that will render it indistinguishable from the point of view of human beings. A sim-universe can accomplish this without having to actually contain the same level of complexity, or possess the actual spatio-temporal dimensions of an actual universe.

6. Next; consider the whole kit and caboodle; that is, the lava lamp full of actual universes, and that indefinite and probably quite large number of simulated universes contained within them. Consider that whole set: If the forgoing is correct, that whole set contains many more simulated universes than actual universes.

7. Now, we can never know for sure that we inhabit an actual universe, that is; a ‘real’ as opposed to ‘sim’ universe or world. Descartes showed us that. We cannot just assume that we will get clues from glitches in the works, as do the characters in “the Matrix.”

8. But, if 5 and 6 are both true, then we essentially are in the position of playing a very loaded roulette wheel. Most of the spaces are red (sims) and just one or two are black (real).

9. So, we are most likely denizens of a simulated universe. We’d better hope the hard drive doesn’t crash, or we are all toast.