Thought Experiments

08
Jul

Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?

What if your thoughts and everything you perceive are nothing but bits in a computer simulation designed to satisfy the curiosity of scientists with capabilities far beyond anything known to human beings?

Maybe you’re thinking, “I already saw that movie.” Or, “What’s the point in speculating on some abstract philosophical theory that we can never test anyway?” Or maybe you just think it all sounds pretty far-fetched.

But some philosophers are taking this idea, called the “simulation argument,” very seriously. Physicists have gone even further, suggesting that we might even be able to detect evidence that confirms it, if we know where to look.

matrix_620
Credit: Flickr user Gamaliel Espinoza Macedo, adapted under a Creative Commons license.

In 2003, philosopher Nick Bostrom of the University of Oxford made the first rigorous exploration of the simulation argument. The simulations he considered are different from those in movies like “The Matrix,” in which the world is simulated but the conscious minds are not—that is, where biological human beings with human brains interface with the simulated world. In Bostrom’s simulations, human consciousness is just another figment of the simulation.

Bostrom assumes that the human mind is substrate-independent: that human consciousness isn’t strictly dependent on the biological brain itself, and that if we could physically replicate that brain in sufficient detail in another form (such as within a computer) it would also have the subjective experience of consciousness. The replication doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be good enough that the replicated being has a human-like subjective experience (a “mind”). An advanced civilization with sufficient computing power to pull this off would be classified as “posthuman.”

What is the probability, then, that we ourselves are simulated minds?

To calculate the probability that a randomly-selected human-like mind—let’s call it “you”—is a simulation, you would divide the number of simulated minds by the total number of all human-like minds (both simulated and non-simulated, or ”real”).

eq1

It might seem that there’s no way to make sense of these quantities, but keep in mind that the “simulated minds” in this case come from a posthuman civilization running detailed simulations of its own past. The total number of “simulated minds” will be a multiple of the “real minds” of the humans that existed before they reached posthuman status. This multiple will be the average number of simulations run by the society (although this argument doesn’t rule out multiple human-like societies existing, if you’re a fan of the somewhat-similar Drake equation). So if you divide both the numerator and denominator by the number of “real minds” (even though we have no idea what that number is), you reach the following:

eq2

Now we get to play with the numbers to see what happens. If the total number of simulations is very small, the ratio is very small. But if the total number of simulations is very large, the ratio will be close to one. Arguing from some reasonable assumptions about what drives the number of simulations, Bostrom explains that we can expect at least one of three scenarios:

1. The fraction of civilizations that survive to the posthuman level is very small.
2. The fraction of posthuman civilizations interested in running simulations is very small.
3. The probability that you are a simulated mind is a simulation is very high.

If options 1 and 2 are correct, we can relax: we’re probably real. But if you think that many civilizations do survive to become “posthuman,” and that many of those posthuman civilizations are indeed interested in running simulations, then option 3—that you are just a computer simulation—becomes a serious probability. It’s hard to tell, of course, as we have no direct experience with posthuman civilizations and their preferences, and there are a number of philosophical objections worthy of debate: Why would any posthuman civilization want to do this? Are Bostrom’s assumptions actually reasonable, or do they miss something vital? Is substrate-independence true, or is it impossible to replicate a human mind?

Can physics offer any insight here? English cosmologist John D. Barrow addressed this question in a 2007 essay published in the book “Universe or Multiverse?,” in which he argued that the simulations might have limits. Even if posthuman simulators “have a very advanced knowledge of the laws of Nature, it’s likely they would still have an incomplete knowledge of them,” wrote Barrow. Any flaws or gaps in this knowledge “would of course be subtle and far from obvious, otherwise our ‘advanced’ civilization wouldn’t be too advanced.”

If these gaps exist, as Barrow reasons, the result would be either glitches in the working of reality, or update “patches” to fix a glitch before it causes a problem. (Recall that in “The Matrix,” local changes to the Matrix caused déjà vu.) These patches could result in changes, over time, to the laws of nature. Barrow concludes:

[…] if we live in a simulated reality we should expect occasional sudden glitches, small drifts in the supposed constants and laws of Nature over time, and a dawning realization that the flaws of Nature are as important as the laws of Nature for our understanding of true reality.

An un-peer-reviewed 2012 attempt at a more rigorous physical analysis of the situation, “Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation” by physicists Silas R. Beane, Zohreh Davoudi, and Martin J. Savage, reached the conclusion that “in principle there always remains the possibility for the simulated to discover the simulators.” Their specific prediction was that there might be limitations on cosmic ray energy levels if we live in a simulation. However, the above statement might be overstating their own case: rather than discovering the simulators, if we find that cosmic rays violate these limitations, we will have instead disproved that we’re in a simulation!

This paper also predicts why our posthuman descendants might want to simulate our universe: to test out string theory. Currently, string theory is overpowered by a vast landscape of possible versions of string theory, and scientists haven’t figured out which one might describe our universe. Detailed simulations would allow posthuman races to test hypotheses about these universes, ruling out possible versions of string theory to zero in on the one that describes their real universe.

If this is the case, Barrow must be right that even the simulators are working from incomplete knowledge. A civilization that is simulating the universe to explore the string theory landscape must not know everything about the laws of physics, and therefore we can reasonably expect gaps and flaws in the simulation.

Indeed, these ideas suggest that our entire known universe is itself only a small part of a grand experiment to understand the most fundamental mysteries of the universe. And for the scientifically-minded among us, many may find that a worthy purpose to our simulated creation.

Go Deeper
Editor’s picks for further reading

Are You Living In a Computer Simulation? The Simulation Argument
Find an extensive list of articles, videos, and other media discussing the “simulation debate” at this site curated by Nick Bostrom.

Backreaction: The simulation hypothesis and other things I don’t believe
Sabine Hossenfelder explains why “the simulation hypothesis is not among the things that keep me up at night.”

Tell us what you think on Twitter, Facebook, or email.

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Andrew Zimmerman Jones

    Andrew Zimmerman Jones is a known member of organizations such as American Mensa and the National Association of Science Writers. Having earned a degree in physics from Wabash College and a master's degree in Mathematics Education from Purdue University, he has gone on to such disreputable activities as becoming the Physics Expert at About.com Physics and co-authoring String Theory For Dummies, and occasionally publishing works of philosophy, reviews of board games, and other leisurely activities. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

    • ednash2015
      • Nancy Duggan

        ^A posthuman designed THIS idiocy?

        • Thadeus Buttons

          It’s that detailed.

          • Parker Fennelly

            lol

    • chris

      Come on now…. this is Nova, not a place for drunk Grad students. A: String Theory is a tenuous interpretation at best. B: If this is a simulation, it can come to an abrupt end or be deleted. Dead, deleted, process stopped, does it really change things about the destruction of our conscious? Or is this a theological debate as well as metaphysics?

      • Hobo Joe

        I found the glitch. It’s your post. It is attempting to prevente from believing in my own simulation.

        • chris

          Honestly, even without the hokus pokus math. The finite human mind, trying to fathom the human mind, or its own inner workings, is a more profound, fundamental, and feasible problem. This isn’t Physics, it is tiddlywinks. Now, I got some grant proposals to write for some real Physics.

          • Jsyvrsn

            Tiddlywinks and hokus pokus math requires grant money in order to write mathematics based interpretations of the environment your biological computer brain sees, just might require breaking through your own “finite” ideas. Maaaaaybe #twiddlywinks

            • chris

              And this is the problem.. Physicists play Oracle and soothsayer so much, the public believes this nonsense is actually Physics. I’m sorry it takes quite a bit of Mathematical preparation, but this is not Physics, this is barely metaphysics

            • Abion47

              If you don’t believe the physicists, then come up with a compelling logical argument or mathematical proof stating their theories are wrong. No one cares about people who go around saying a theory is wrong because it is stupid.

            • chris

              You really think this is a rigorous mathematical proof? Or a sound argument?

            • Abion47

              The article presented a hypothetical reality and then defended it with logic and reasoning. To those who approach the article with an open mind, the explanations are sound enough to at least credit the hypothetical with some plausibility. The explanations weren’t formed with conclusive rigor and irrefutable mathematical proofs because, hey, this is a hypothetical situation. If it could be irrefutably proven, then it wouldn’t be a hypothetical, and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

              Still waiting for you to counter the article with something other than the “it is tiddlywinks”.

            • chris

              This is a hypothetical situation with unknown and arguably incorrect postulates. Why would a “post-human” group care about String Theory? Seems like a reasonably simple way to classify post humaness. How would you simulate String Theory without assuming or understanding it? Some post-human magic we don’t understand, right? Why would the #of simulated minds be a lot (or why wouldn’t it be approaching infinity with advanced tech and lots of time), perhaps plenty of post-humans prefer sipping coke and reading Star Wars novels….

              This is an unrigurous, un-peer reviewed, piece of science fiction. You can’t argue faith. Nova should do better. Leading the gullible and playing Star Trek is a position Physics should not be in, it confuses layman and puts money into cold fusion cranks and other shiftless “scientists.” About as inspiring as Asimov, and deserves very little press from a legitimate source.

            • Abion47

              You seem to have gone into this article having already decided that this article is a load of crap. There’s a reason I said “with an open mind”.

              “Why would a ‘post-human’ care about String Theory?”

              Maybe the same reason humans care about it now. Maybe in the future, String Theorists have a breakthrough and it ends up explaining everything. Or maybe the simulation reason has nothing to do with String Theory at all. Exactly what specific information post-humans would want to glean from this human simulation isn’t something we could reasonably guess, but it doesn’t really matter to the overall point of the article anyway.

              And the rest of your argument once again boils down to essentially “it is stupid”. That is not an argument. The only thing I can say to it is this. If you think it’s stupid, then either try again from a different mindset or leave and make way for more intelligent discussion.

              Again, this isn’t a physical hypothetical. This is a philosophical one. Philosophy deals with hypothetical all the time, and as long as the hypothetical is presented in a logically compelling way, it has no reason to be restricted to the realms of reality. If you can’t handle that, then what are you even doing here.

            • chris

              I’m very glad we agree that this is Philosophy (Meta-physics) and not Physics. Because I’m very certain it is, and does not belong in a Nova (PBS) article. Also, it is hardly Physics and doesn’t deserve that title, even with flim-flam hypothetical ratios.

            • Abion47

              You’re the only one attributing it to physics. You are officially arguing a null-issue. And Nova can print it all they want as even though it isn’t all that based in reality, it is still thought-provoking.

            • Ryan London

              I’ve thought about this possibility more than I should. I’m not an educated man but to me, a society so far advanced would have already figured out the unified theory and tested it many times. I think that this is a real possibility but why does it have to be in the name of science? If you were so far advanced that physical bodies weren’t needed, where you really did live forever why not play a game where you inject yourself into the game, which is happening in our universe? I also like to think about the possibility that we’re biological AI and everything we are and learn goes into a super data center. Then there are things that make me think the metaphysics folks are onto something when you read about near death experiences or people experiencing the super natural. So many possibilities but the one fact that I know, is that i’m alive right now and i’ll never know everything. So live it up.

            • hummingbird

              No one cares about people who go around saying a theory is wrong because it is stupid.

              Sometimes it is all that can be said.

            • Abion47

              Then that puts you on equal footing with the people who bash science because “that’s not what it says in the Bible.”

              Actually, you’re on less than equal footing. The Bible pushers may have arguments that are shallow and based on a loose collection of irrelevant documents 2000+ years old, but at least they have arguments.

    • Kristal Chapman

      I’m glad to see the mind opening within the science community. Just because we don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t possible or that it doesn’t exist.

    • jaun sanchez

      Probably the dumbest thing I have read by supposedly smart people . Tell your simulation theory to the Jews who were gassed by the Nazi’s

      • Padge Vounder

        Judging by your comment, you know precious little about smart people other than that they exist and you are not one of them.

      • NeoCorteX

        I often see people offended by the Simulation Argument because it challenges their idea of a universe as if it was some kind of game.

        Put yourself in another perspective….if you wanted a grand, super complex, versatile, logical universe would you *really* put in justice for the less fortunate?

        Were here to solve problems and understand them but leaving dogmas behind takes time.

      • Mike Wright

        juan sanchez – half the people i come across in life are above average. you are not one of them.

      • ESP88

        Please explain how this is relevant Jaun… I want to understand more about those of us who got the short end of the simulated gene pool. I bet your simulation runs on windows…

      • Maximus Bourne

        And if a WWII video game simulation was made, how many game players do you think would be killing Jews? How many game players kill unarmed citizens in “Grand Theft Auto” on their Xbox or PS4s?

    • David Savige

      Perhaps a post human civilization created our universe under certain conditions just to see how it would evolve over time.

      • Duncan Mattie

        Exactly.

    • Carlo Benniti

      A computer simulation is formed on a computer drive which itself is a physical construct no less so than the supposed actual universe we do live in so I don’t see at all where this hyperbole leads philosophically. Just replaces one physical construct we inherently trust with another so as to foment unease and rile fear.

    • gertri

      Most interesting for me is the fact that scientists and philosophers who so disparage any concept of God or gods have no problem entertaining the idea that we are nothing more than a simulation created by super-evolved post-humans, even though both theories (gods vs. post-humans) are equally unprovable. It stands to reason that post-humans who can change the very laws of nature in a running simulation should also be able make the requisite adjustments to the history of science, the state of our theories and knowledge, to our very minds (which are also simply data). After all, if you change the conditions of an antecedent function in a program, do dependent functions down the line remain unaffected?

      • jimh

        Agreed. In some ways, these simulation arguments skate amazingly close to creationism or Intelligent Design. They appeal to a sort of Gnostic desire to see our consciousness as a mere side effect, a ‘grant’ from some higher-order reality of which we are mere dependents.

    • http://www.clinearts.com Craig Cline

      A virtual image in optics simply notes it is a reference to to the original object as is our observation of reality. We live in a virtual world. It’s a small leap to see this as a simulation. Is a God-Scientist watching? Enter religion.

    • Alex Williamson

      Ocam’s Razor : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor

      Silliness cubed.

    • Red the Fister

      My biggest question when ever i read this type of article: So what?
      What would change if it was shown with a high degree of certainty that we most likely are simulated?
      Would what’s important to us become unimportant? Doubtful.
      Would it prove or disprove the lunatic claims of the religious? Would they care one way or the other?

      • Abion47

        If it were ever proven that life as we knew it were just a simulated reality, I imagine that it would mentally break people significantly. Some would go around continuing to deny it regardless, as believing this is the life that matters is the only way they know how to live. Some would be driven to depression, coming to the realization that nothing they’ve ever known or done was “real”. Some would drive themselves insane wondering about the new implications of this knowledge. I’d wager that the people who would be largely unaffected by this would be pretty small, and that number would get smaller and smaller the older a person is.

        • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

          You ignore the obvious: It would be immediately deduced by the vast majority that our simulation was created and therefore has an omnipotent and omniscient creator–god or gods–able to be worshipped and prayed to with the hope that the creator is capable of hearing and answering prayers. Different ideas about the nature and desires of the creator will spring up, separating people into different groups. In the absence of absolute knowledge, various narratives as to why the creator built the simulation will evolve, and notions of purpose and creator-suggested rules for fulfilling those purposes will arise. Some might sincerely imagine that the creator communicates directly to them, and a few will successfully convince others that they are a messenger of sorts who can deliver good tidings and stern warnings from the creator. The narratives, activities surrounding the messengers, and the creator’s words will be recorded in books and wikis. People will meet in public, in online forums, and in virtual reality environments to discuss the creator and its greatness, perfection, and obvious love for us for having created us. Many people will realize that some of the narratives are just new-age versions of traditional religions, so they decide to strengthen their in what they knew was true all along.

          (OK, I got a bit creative with parts, but I think you get the picture.)

          The most likely result of the world’s population learning that they exist in a massive simulation is that the world will become much more religious than it already is, except it will be built on knowledge of a creator rather than assumption and belief, but imagined narratives will be concocted to fill in the unknown bits like why, how, rules, supposed messenger-delvered words, and a possible afterlife in a perfect place beyond, where souls can learn of, love and serve their divine creator on high..

          • Just_PrimalSoup

            Damn, you did it again. Nailed it.

          • Abion47

            If we already had knowledge that we were living in a simulation, then some people would accept it and some would reject it. Some would make it their mission to spread the knowledge of the truth, and some wouldn’t care either way.

            Some would take that knowledge and use it as a basis for our system of belief towards the creators of the simulation, using devotion and praise to get on the positive side in exchange for the possibility of earning the creators’ mercy. Others would devote their entire lives to learning the rules and regulations of the simulation, learning about the constraints of the system and how they can be overcome for the benefit to those living in it.

            Some people might use that knowledge that they are living in a simulation as proof that their life has no meaning, and that they are simply pawns being played by a higher power. Those people may choose to either accept their role as a pawn and to play the game as their creator so chooses, or they may refuse to live in a world where there is no higher purpose and grow increasingly depressed until such a time that they decide to take their own life.

            Over time, the certainty of this knowledge may fade, with the passing of time blurring the line between the truth and the imagined writings of people trying to make their own sense of how the simulation works and what it means to the people in it. The truth would splinter, with groups choosing which version of the truth they would wish to follow, and these different paths would continue to evolve and splinter further. Eventually, all semblance of the original truth would be lost, the scattered fragments being indiscernible from the doctrine that they reside in.

            In short, this “alternate reality” which you describe is basically the existence that we live in right now.

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              In short, this “alternate reality” which you describe is basically the existence that we live in right now.

              BINGO!!!

              After all, human nature will remain human nature.

              If we already had knowledge that we were living in a simulation, then some […] and some […] and some […]

              BINGO!!!

              “Some” would do some of what you say, but my argument is that the VAST MAJORITY of humans would do exactly as they have done before: look to a creator for salvation.

              Some people might use that knowledge that they are living in a simulation as proof that their life has no meaning, and that they are simply pawns being played by a higher power.

              And… except for having no meaning, isn’t this already the belief held by the great majority of people; that they are simply pawns being played by one or more higher powers? Gods and Demons?

              You see, already, many believe that their life is laid out for them by “The Plan”. The only differences that knowledge that we are living in a simulation would bring are…

              …the existence of the creator would be based on fact, not merely hope, desire, and belief,

              …the creator’s plan is the simulation.

              So, instead of feeling that “their life has no meaning”, the great majority of humans will do as humans do, as humans have always done, and that is to be hopeful that the reason their magnificent creator created them was out of an expression of love. It is that creator’s love and ultimate wisdom that will be their life’s “meaning”, EXACTLY as it has been over and over and over again across space and time on this planet.

              Over time, the certainty of this knowledge may fade, with the passing of time blurring the line between the truth and the imagined writings of people trying to make their own sense of how the simulation works and what it means to the people in it.

              “Over time”? The ONLY truth that they are given is that they are living in a simulation. From that, it can’t help but be deduced that the simulation has a creator. IMMEDIATELY from there, ALL ELSE will be speculated upon. Therefore, IMMEDIATELY upon learning that we are part of a creator-created simulation, new narratives will be created to give answers to the who, what, how, and why of the creator and the creator’s created simulation. Old narratives will be examined, slightly modified, and strengthened with knowledge that the creator is real and then assumed to be the one and the same creator whom they have always believed to be the master creator of the universe and author of their holy books.

              Eventually, all semblance of the original truth would be lost, the scattered fragments being indiscernible from the doctrine that they reside in.

              It depends on what you mean by “eventually”. As you can see, after thousands of years Catholicism is undergoing a reformation, as did Christianity in general. as will Islam soon. Yes, this will happen, but not in the way you mean. Your “eventually” is meant to signify that “religions” about this truth will not be quick to come and that they will only come “eventually” as the “truth” fades. Not true. Narratives arise as soon as answers are desired, but no answers are yet available; primarily, “why did the creator create the simulation, why do I exist inside of it, what is my purpose, how do I please the creator, what happens to me if I don’t, and what happens to me when I die?”

              Think in terms of human nature. Heck. Given the absolute evidenced-based proof that we are living in a simulation, rather than casually thinking of it as a possibility, I would marvel at its reality. I would be in awe! I would ponder the creator nearly every waking moment, wonder how and what it is, and wonder how and why it created me and the simulation. Being of scientific mind, I wouldn’t turn any of my speculations into truth, but I would wonder, I would wonder, I would wonder if the creator can see my life and hear my thoughts. And if so, I would wonder if maybe, just maybe, if I ask kindly enough, would my amazing creator grant me great health and long life and allow me to win the lottery.

            • Abion47

              After all, human nature will remain human nature.

              You are greatly simplifying that aspect of human nature. What drives humankind is the desire to find answers to the questions we are so curious as to ask. Whether that compulsion drives people to God or to their own experimentation depends heavily on the person in question.

              “Some” would do some of what you say, but my argument is that the VAST MAJORITY of humans would do exactly as they have done before: look to a creator for salvation.

              First of all, while historically people have been vastly religious, I would also point out that the number of people who would consider themselves religious has fallen sharply in recent times. And Secondly, point to one example of human history where a vast majority of the populus was devoutly religious where such a happening ended with positive results.

              So, instead of feeling that “their life has no meaning”, the great majority of humans will do as humans do, as humans have always done, and that is to be hopeful that the reason their magnificent creator created them was out of an expression of love. It is that creator’s love and ultimate wisdom that will be their life’s “meaning”, EXACTLY as it has been over and over and over again across space and time on this planet.

              Or they might decide that the overall plan makes no difference to them, and they will continue to live out their lives without caring much at all. Just because people might believe there is a creator does not mean that they will tailor their entire lives around only searving the creator’s supposed will.

              “Over time”? The ONLY truth that they are given is that they are living in a simulation. From that, it can’t help but be deduced that the simulation has a creator. IMMEDIATELY from there, ALL ELSE will be speculated upon. Therefore, IMMEDIATELY upon learning that we are part of a creator-created simulation, new narratives will be created to give answers to the who, what, how, and why of the creator and the creator’s created simulation. Old narratives will be examined, slightly modified, and strengthened with knowledge that the creator is real and then assumed to be the one and the same creator whom they have always believed to be the master creator of the universe and author of their holy books.

              I feel like you may have missed my point on this particular area. If this hypothetical situation where we are in a simulation is true as you describe it, then the fact that we are referring to the simulator’s creator(s) as “God” and worshipping them as divine beigns rather than acknowledging them as a collection of scientifically-minded judicators means that such a perversion of “the truth” has already occurred. The “immediately” would have happened many thousands of years ago, and the truth as it would be has long since lost to the folds of time.

              Also, I would like to point out that, given that the only truth is that we are in a simulation and all else is speculation, the knowledge of what we are supposed to do in this situation is a member of that speculation. We cannot know what we are meant to do in this simulated life we lead, and thus all belief systems regarding our creators is rendered moot in terms of how we are meant to direct our lives.

              It depends on what you mean by “eventually”. As you can see, after thousands of years Catholicism is undergoing a reformation, as did Christianity in general. as will Islam soon. Yes, this will happen, but not in the way you mean. Your “eventually” is meant to signify that “religions” about this truth will not be quick to come and that they will only come “eventually” as the “truth” fades.

              That is absolutely not what I said at all. What I said is that those that adhere to the truth will, as you say, create their own explanations to fill the gaps of knowledge taht we possess, and that over time two things will happen. First, different people will come up with different explanations, and others will decide which of the explanations they will follow based on what sounds the most “right” to them. Second, over time, these explanations will grow so massive and entwined with the parts that are the truth that it will be impossible to tell what was imagined and what was the truth.

              What I mean by “eventually” is that upon the appearance of any irrefutable proof, without fail, all forms of that truth will have undergone so many retellings and conversions of understanding that the truth will no longer exist in a way that is recognizable as such. You say that Christianity has undergone a reform and Islam will soon as well[citation needed], but this is hardly the first reform that either religion has ever gone through in its history, and it will not be the last. That is because as society evolves through its understanding, its belief systems evolve as well. That is why virtually all pagan religions are essentially extinct, and why we establish forms of law that don’t involve stoning adulterers or sacrificing animals.

              Think in terms of human nature. Heck. Given the absolute evidenced-based proof that we are living in a simulation…

              Okay, hold up. There is no evidence-based proof that we are living in a simulation. There are only hypothetical scenarios that philosophy and logic can create that suggests that it might not be an impossibility. But making up a story to fulfill the needs of our curious minds does not equate to proof. This is not a discussion of how to deal with the truth that we are in a simulation. This is a philisophical discussion that poses the “What if” question. Nothing in the above article or in the vast majority of the comments is to be read as though it was pure truth. We are here to have a scholarly discussion, not to devolve into zealotry.

              If you want to keep discussing such a possibility within the realm of philosophy. But if all you are doing is using the theory of simulation to push your religious agenda, then find someone else to indulge in your rhetoric.

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              Hmm…

              Okay, hold up. There is no evidence-based proof that we are living in a simulation.

              Oh, my! I thought for sure that when discussing a simulation, it would ALWAYS BE ASSUMED TO BE A HYPOTHETICAL!!!!!

              Stating something as “given” is stating that it is “given within the hypothetical”. In this hypothetical scenario of KNOWLEDGE that the simulation is known to exist, is it not given that there MUST BE “evidence-based proof that we are living in a simulation”? HOW ELSE WOULD YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE LIVING IN A SIMULATION IF NOT BY EVIDENCED-BASED PROOF?

              But if all you are doing is using the theory of simulation to push your religious agenda, then find someone else to indulge in your rhetoric.

              Heeheehee. Shakes head.

              Come on, friend. Please back off from all of that. Relax, and perhaps revisit my comments with a cooler, more reasonable head. I cannot respond to your comments because you jumped out of the hypothetical and projected all kinds of craziness on me. If that’s your way of closing the discussion, then so be it.

            • Abion47

              Dude, first of all, given all the stuff you spouted about people following their creator with love and looking to him always for guidance, you can’t expect me to have believed you were really treating this as a hypothetical.

              Secondly, the only things you responded to were literally the very last things I said. I believed you to be a religious nut, but I still gave you the respect of addressing all your points in turn, only calling you out on your assumed nuttiness as a footnote. Show me the same respect and respond to everything I said or don’t bother to respond at all.

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              Nah. You’ve become incensed for absolutely no reason at all except for maybe your ideas were challenged. I’m fine with calling it a day. Thanks for the discussion. :)

            • Abion47

              What discussion? You gave a bunch of points worded in ways that highly suggested you were approaching the topic with religious dispositions. I responded with my own counterarguments, then called you out on said dispositions. But rather than address any of the points I made, suddenly you decide to ignore everything I said, giving me the proverbial “umadbro” response.

              Well if that’s the attitude you’re going to have about our “discussion”, then I can only assume your intent was to troll me, and you never desired to have an actual discussion in the first place. In which case, I’m glad to be rid of you.

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              I responded in length twice. The sound of a supersonic jet you hear flying overhead is not a supersonic jet flying overhead.

            • Abion47

              You’re implying that the responsibility of responding at this point is mine, but you have given me nothing related to the topic to respond to. You have yet to address my latest response on the subject at all, instead dismissing it because of what was said in the final sentences. If you would care to open the topic back up and actually address the points I made, I would be glad to continue the discussion.

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              OK. Yes, let’s both continue respectfully. I think we both make valid points. It’s a fun and interesting topic. I will respond in about an hour or two. I have a little work to do in between. Thanks for reaching out. Much respect! And I apologize for my unnecessary snide remarks.

            • Just_PrimalSoup

              😀

            • Just_PrimalSoup

              For crying out loud…..

            • Abion47

              Silence from the peanut gallery.

            • Just_PrimalSoup

              :(

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              Hello, Abion47. Our purpose here is not simply to defend our positions at all cost, but to open our minds, use our EMPATHY, and imagine the various scenarios sincerely. Failure to do that will not bring us any closer to imagining what will happen if the hypothetical became the reality.

              What I mean by using our empathy, is to actually imagine that the hypothetical was announced to be true. That is precisely what I did in my first response to you. I was not analyzing the situation from the perspective of knowing that the hypothetical is not true; I was analyzing as if I were living in the age where the hypothetical were true. I imagined myself as both a religious and non-religious person. I imagined reporting on the news, conversations with friends and family. I put myself there. This projection was clear when I opened with…

              kalqlate says: You ignore the obvious: It would be immediately deduced by the vast majority that our simulation was created and therefore has an omnipotent and omniscient creator–god or gods–able to be worshiped and prayed to with the hope that the creator is capable of hearing and answering prayers. (You forget that, among other attributes, humans are largely a hopeful, suggestive, imaginative, needy, gullible, and superstitious, lot.)

              ..and then reiterated in my second post with…

              kalqlate says: “Over time”? The ONLY truth that they are given is that they are living in a simulation. From that, it can’t help but be deduced that the simulation has a creator. IMMEDIATELY from there, ALL ELSE will be speculated upon.

              Even in your writing, you wrote in agreement…

              Also, I would like to point out that, given that the only truth is that we are in a simulation and all else is speculation…

              For you to then turn and claim that I might be “pushing [my] religious agenda” doesn’t fit. I don’t understand how you reached that conclusion.

              I think you are failing to use your empathy to immerse yourself in the hypothetical as real as evidenced by your inability to follow the projection when you commented…

              Okay, hold up. There is no evidence-based proof that we are living in a simulation. There are only hypothetical scenarios that philosophy and logic can create that suggests that it might not be an impossibility.

              Never did I say that we ARE living in a simulation. If you were exercising empathy, the projection would’ve been clear and impossible of being confused with an actual declaration.

              This is not a discussion of how to deal with the truth that we are in a simulation.

              This is not about the simulation being true, but this IS about viewing the simulation AS true. … What is the mindset if it were true.

              Exercising deep empathy is very important in doing your best to deeply understand the mindset of others without actually being others. For example, to understand Putin, you have to do your utter best to view the world contextually with Putin eyes rather than analyze Putin from a distance.

              Likewise, you can’t analyze the simulation hypothesis from our we-don’t-know-if-we-exist-in-a-simulation perspective alone and hope to reach anything close to what might actually be the case. Empathy won’t take you all the way there either, but it will get you a lot closer than if you analyze from a distance. Analyzing from a distance takes very little effort. However, analyzing with empathy that puts you in the context of the hypothesis being real takes considerable more imagination and effort. You pretty much have to let go of yourself so that you can flow into hypothetical context as real. If done well, it will overcome whatever at-a-distance analyses that you might first jump to and allow you to probe that “reality” with greater self, feeling, and in situ logic and reasoning.

              You are greatly simplifying that aspect of human nature. What drives humankind is the desire to find answers to the questions we are so curious as to ask. Whether that compulsion drives people to God or to their own experimentation depends heavily on the person in question.

              True. Again, as you address below, I’m I’m speaking about what the great majority of people have done, and given that history, what they are most likely to do again–knowledge of existing in a simulation will not change human nature; the vast majority will try to commune with their creator.

              First of all, while historically people have been vastly religious, I would also point out that the number of people who would consider themselves religious has fallen sharply in recent times.

              If the number has “fallen sharply”, why do you think that is?

              A) People just decide for no reason to stop believing.

              B) People are disillusioned with believing unprovable things?

              I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that the avalanche of information available over the Internet and the freedom to discuss and expose the irrationality of believing unprovable things is what is most responsible for the decline–answer B.

              So, what if instead of having to “believe” in a creator, people could “know” that a creator indeed existed? I’m sure this would raise a whole host of other questions for which new narratives would be created and to which people would have reason to believe again because the cornerstone of those beliefs–a creator–would have been proven true.

              And Secondly, point to one example of human history where a vast majority of the populus was devoutly religious where such a happening ended with positive results.

              Is it “positivity of religion” or “propensity toward religion” we are discussing here? I’m pretty sure my argument is regarding “propensity toward religion”. Throughout our history, people have gravitated toward religion regardless of any historical precedent. In fact, when people take on a religion, they are not looking at the performance of any religion; they are looking forward with hopeful eyes.

              Or they might decide that the overall plan makes no difference to them, and they will continue to live out their lives without caring much at all. Just because people might believe there is a creator does not mean that they will tailor their entire lives around only searving the creator’s supposed will.

              Wishful thinking. I only ask you to look at what the vast majority of humans have done and are doing, even in the light of a “sharp decline”. Again, in my view, any decline is due to disillusionment. Given solid evidence that the core of their beliefs are true–that there is a creator–that same vast majority and many new converts will have their faith restored or generate new faiths based on new narratives.

              Your quote above is a great example of how you are failing to exercise empathy. Instead, you are projecting how YOU would react onto others. As I said, wishful thinking. You do this even given what the vast majority has proven what they will do again and again and again over space and time on this planet.

              If this hypothetical situation where we are in a simulation is true as you describe it, then the fact that we are referring to the simulator’s creator(s) as “God” and worshipping them as divine beigns rather than acknowledging them as a collection of scientifically-minded judicators means that such a perversion of “the truth” has already occurred.

              I have a mangled puzzled look on my face. “Supernatural” means “beyond nature”. TODAY’s term for a being beyond nature, a supernatural being, is… a “god”. Do you know what “divine” means? Dictionary . com defines it as…

              1. of or relating to a god, especially the Supreme Being.

              2. addressed, appropriated, or devoted to God or agod; religious; sacred:

              divine worship.

              3. proceeding from God or a god: divine laws;

              divine guidance.

              4. godlike; characteristic of or befitting a deity:

              divine magnanimity.

              5. heavenly; celestial:

              the divine kingdom.

              6. extremely good; unusually lovely:

              He has the most divine tenor voice.

              7. being a god; being God:

              Zeus, Hera, and other divine beings in Greek mythology.

              Applying “divine” to a being does not disqualify that being from being “a collection of scientifically-minded judicators”. Your logic in that quote makes no sense for that reason.

              Further, you are showing your own prejudice about what you think the creator(s) of the simulation might be.

              …means that such a perversion of “the truth has already occurred.

              You have declared an idea about an unknown in our hypothesis a “perversion of ‘the truth'”, therefore declaring your notion as ‘the truth’, a ‘truth’ that you just created and iterated, not “one since lost to the folds of time.”

              Thinking in this way, you have IMMEDIATELY planted the seed for your own religion.

              How do you have any idea that the simulation creator is a collection of scientifically-minded judicators” instead of an all-powerful, all-knowing being that can do anything without regard to any “science” as humans know “science”? (Our “science” is how we interpret nature. A being outside of our nature might view it completely differently.) You should rethink this.

              This is precisely how the narratives that I spoke of earlier are created. You and those who agree with you would view and think of the creator as “a collection of scientifically-minded judicators” while others would view and think of the creator as an all-powerful, all-knowing being while still others would view and think of the creator as something altogether different. Your statement here shows the propensity of people to build narratives about the unknown. And check it out… you did it immediately.

              We cannot know what we are meant to do in this simulated life we lead, and thus all belief systems regarding our creators is rendered moot in terms of how we are meant to direct our lives.

              The first part of this statement, “We cannot know what we are meant to do in this simulated life we lead” is absolutely correct. That’s why narratives will be created to serve as answers to the unknown questions. That’s one of the main reasons why religions exist–to make up answers for the unknowns. However, the second part again shows a lack of empathy.

              As I mentioned several times now, new narratives would be created. Also, the old narratives would be adjusted as necessary to fit. In fact, looking at Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism, there is absolutely nothing about the beliefs in those religions that would have to change. For Christians, they would still believe in the history, life and resurrection of Jesus. That they are living in a simulation created by a creator proven to exist changes nothing… the creation story remains the same (“And the Lord said, ‘Let their be (simulated) light!”), Jesus would walk on (simulated) water), the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Bible would remain the same… EXCEPT… they now have KNOWLEDGE and PROOF that their creator exists. IN THEIR MINDS, they can now naturally carry the transition of belief in their creator to knowledge about their creator to transition their belief in Jesus to knowledge in Jesus. That’s how faith works: give a little something that looks like the truth, then all related IS the truth.

              What I said is that those that adhere to the truth will, as you say, create their own explanations to fill the gaps of knowledge taht we possess, and that over time two things will happen. First, different people will come up with different explanations, and others will decide which of the explanations they will follow based on what sounds the most “right” to them. Second, over time, these explanations will grow so massive and entwined with the parts that are the truth that it will be impossible to tell what was imagined and what was the truth.

              I’m not sure I follow this paragraph.

              If you are meaning “truth” as in the narratives that seek to explain the unknowns, like how and why the creator created the simulation, SURROUNDING the proof that we are living in a simulation, then OF COURSE, just like religions, these narratives’ “truths” will drift in time.

              However, if you are meaning that the “truth” is the proof that is scientifically produced for the existence of the simulation–and by deduction, the creator–then, I really don’t understand your reasoning.

              REMEMBER, it is SCIENTIFICALLY PRODUCED EVIDENCE. That means it is not subject to speculation.

              The narratives SURROUNDING this scientific proof that seek to answer the unknown how and why the creator created the simulation will be speculated upon, but just like the scientific proof that water is composed of H2O and is not subject to modification by belief, whatever proof that is given that we live in a simulation cannot be altered by mere imagination and is not subject to belief.

              Just as we continually pound and examine atomic structure with the LHC, learning that we exist in a simulation is just one step in the quest for even more scientific answers. The experiments used to prove that we exist in a simulation will be repeated again and again and will remain on file to be repeated anytime and will be used to test related theories.

              The body of scientific knowledge that would prove that we live in a simulation would be tamper- and belief-proof and, therefore, NOT subject to religion-like drift because it would be repeatable, testable science and would be the basis for continued scientific inquiry into the nature of the simulation and its creator.

              Still, again, for those things that science hasn’t yet answered, narratives will be created and, indeed, they will drift in time.

              What I mean by “eventually” is that upon the appearance of any irrefutable proof, without fail, all forms of that truth will have undergone so many retellings and conversions of understanding that the truth will no longer exist in a way that is recognizable as such.

              Same reasoning as above. This “irrefutable proof” is repeatable scientifically derived truth. It is tamper- and belief-proof; therefore is not subject to drift as made up narratives are. If such proof were scientifically discovered, it would be as solid and unchangeable as water = H2O.

              This is a philisophical discussion that poses the “What if” question. Nothing in the above article or in the vast majority of the comments is to be read as though it was pure truth. We are here to have a scholarly discussion, not to devolve into zealotry.

              I hope you have a better understanding now of where I’m coming from.

            • Just_PrimalSoup

              speechless

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              Hahaha… probably because I wrote way too much! 😀

            • Abion47

              Hello, Abion47. Our purpose here is not simply to defend our positions at all cost, but to open our minds, use our EMPATHY, and imagine the various scenarios sincerely. Failure to do that will not bring us any closer to imagining what will happen if the hypothetical became the reality.

              Don’t get me wrong here, I do believe that empathy has a place in philosophical discussions. But one thing that is important is that such projection of ourselves into this hypothetical reality tends to color our opinions of what people as a collective would do with what we ourselves would do. That is why with my first response I gave a vast number of possibilities of how people might react to such an event where we are presented with the undeniable truth that we are living in a simulation.

              Your opinion that most people would start to worship the simulation’s overseers as divine entities has merit, as religion as a concept is fairly engrained into the human psycke at this point. But this prediction is also flawed in such a way that we don’t know what humans of today’s age would react, since we today think and act in ways vastly different than did the people of even a hundred years ago, due to our rapidly accelerating levels of scientific exploration and technological advancement.

              I think you are failing to use your empathy to immerse yourself in the hypothetical as real as evidenced by your inability to follow the projection when you commented…

              Never did I say that we ARE living in a simulation. If you were exercising empathy, the projection would’ve been clear and impossible of being confused with an actual declaration.

              That was a misreading of your comment on my part, and I’d like to apologize for that.

              True. Again, as you address below, I’m speaking about what the great majority of people have done, and given that history, what they are most likely to do again–knowledge of existing in a simulation will not change human nature; the vast majority will try to commune with their creator.

              But the nature of that communication will have changed, potentially forever. It will no longer be a communication based on strong belief, but on the fact that you know for certain that someone is there. It will be less like praying to God and more like talking to someone over the phone.

              If the number has “fallen sharply”, why do you think that is?

              A) People just decide for no reason to stop believing.

              B) People are disillusioned with believing unprovable things?

              Am I allowed to pick “C) None of the above”?

              I do think your reasoning behind your picking of option B is sound, but incomplete. When I say that people are starting to not consider themselves religious anymore, I don’t mean it as in people are becoming more atheist. What I mean is that people don’t turn to their divine entities and holy scripts as often as they used to, instead electing to make decisions and reasonings on their own. Whether they believe in their own respective gospels is not what I am talking about, but rather in how much they devote their day-to-day actions toward serving their faith.

              So, what if instead of having to “believe” in a creator, people could “know” that a creator indeed existed? I’m sure this would raise a whole host of other questions for which new narratives would be created and to which people would have reason to believe again because the cornerstone of those beliefs–a creator–would have been proven true.

              To be fair, the cornerstone of those beliefs aren’t that there is a creator, but that said creator is a benevolent one that loves and cares about each of us, which isn’t something that merely knowing a creator exists would validate.

              Wishful thinking. I only ask you to look at what the vast majority of humans have done and are doing, even in the light of a “sharp decline”. Again, in my view, any decline is due to disillusionment. Given solid evidence that the core of their beliefs are true–that there is a creator–that same vast majority and many new converts will have their faith restored or generate new faiths based on new narratives.

              In this case, I would have to ask the question. Are we talking about if this revelation would happen to humans in general, or if it would happen to humans today?

              If we are speaking in general terms, then I believe you would be right as I have previously stated (but I will touch on that in a moment). But if we are talking about how humans would react today, then I would argue that enough of us have a scientific understanding that molds our way of thinking that I would expect people to approach “the creators” from a personal standpoint rather than religious. Rather than pray to them, I’d expect we would instead try to converse with them, and to reach a new level of understanding with them. It wouldn’t be a relationship between a God and a follower as much as it would be with a beggar and a guy who holds food in one hand and a gun in the other.

              I have a mangled puzzled look on my face. “Supernatural” means “beyond nature”. TODAY’s term for a being beyond nature, a supernatural being, is… a “god”. Do you know what “divine” means? Dictionary . com defines it as…

              You have declared an idea about an unknown in our hypothesis a “perversion of ‘the truth'”, therefore declaring your notion as ‘the truth’, a ‘truth’ that you just created and iterated, not “one since lost to the folds of time.”

              Once again, you are not getting my point about this. What I am referring to is if this happening, this revelation that we are inside a simulation being run by external beings, has already happened in the past. You like talking about how humans as a whole would react to such a revelation given their history, so my point was to extend the hypothetical and apply it to human history.

              If the revelation had happened, then it would’ve probably happened near the beginning times of human civilisation, around 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. At that time, the knowledge of the existance of creators would have been absolute truth. But over time, the retelling of the truth from those who witnessed it to those that didn’t – either because they hadn’t yet been born or if, for some reason, the revelation happened at a specific location rather than being global – along with the inflating of the truth with other stories to explain what further questions we have (as you say happens all the time) will have turned the truth into first a stretching and bending of the truth, then into something that only has a vague resemblance of the truth, and finally into something where the fragments of the truth that remain are indescernable from the tales and legends that surround it.

              It is not hard to imagine a scenario in which this actually happened in our history. When the original truth would have been lost to retellings would be when the truth turned into religion. And because people are different, they would make up different stories, leading to the splintering of religions from a single core to a smattering of similar faiths. These would continue to evolve and differentiate based on the people and societal needs of the time, until you get things like Egyptian, Greek, and Norse mythologies that are very different on their faces but strikingly similar in base concepts.

              That is what I’m referring to. This is not my prejudice that this comes from, but an application of this hypothetical we are discussing upon an examination of human history.

              How do you have any idea that the simulation creator is a collection of scientifically-minded judicators” instead of an all-powerful, all-knowing being that can do anything without regard to any “science” as humans know “science”? (Our “science” is how we interpret nature. A being outside of our nature might view it completely differently.)

              Okay then, I return the question. How do you know that the creators are all-powerful, all-knowing beings rather than a collection of what we would consider to be scientists? Is our existence one that, like religions say, a test of life so that we may learn what it is to be alive? Or is our purpose to merely be some overseer’s guinea pigs to experiment what would happen if you put a group of sentient minds within an alternate reality given free will and little to no direction?

              These aren’t questions that we can reasonably answer, even within a philosophical context, because any answer would be based on assumptions of our creators’ capabilities and motives that we couldn’t possibly know with any degree of certainty.

              Also, let me say that just because science as we know it wouldn’t exist to entities outside of this simulation, that doesn’t mean that science as a concept would be foreign to those entities. They may follow different rules than us, but it is likely that they still have rules to follow. Their “nature” is their own universe, within which it is scientifically possible to create and simulate our own. For what end they might do so is anyone’s guess, or even a reason so beyond our capability of understanding that even if we did find a way to communicate with them, we couldn’t possibly hope to comprehend it.

              …Your statement here shows the propensity of people to build narratives about the unknown. And check it out… you did it immediately.

              Sure, what I did was apply this hypothetical situation to human history and examine how what we know of the evolution of religious systems would fit within that context. That could be described as “creating a narrative”. But I would also like to point out that your constant referral to what you call “empathy” is doing just that as well. You are attempting to put yourself into the mindset of others, then using what you know of that mindset to try and deduce how that type of person might react to a given scenario. That is just as much of a “creating a narrative” activity as what I did.

              Creating narratives is what humans do. It is how we discuss hypothetical situations, how we recall and share experiences and memories. It’s also how we are able to make connections and drive scientific discovery. I don’t know what argument you are trying to make when you point out that what I did was generate a narrative, particularly when my doing so was kind of the point.

              The first part of this statement, “We cannot know what we are meant to do in this simulated life we lead” is absolutely correct. That’s why narratives will be created to serve as answers to the unknown questions. That’s one of the main reasons why religions exist–to make up answers for the unknowns.

              I’m glad that we can agree on that point. But then…

              However, the second part again shows a lack of empathy.

              This shows that, once again, you have missed my point. I believe it’s accurate to say we are in agreement that, given we are in fact living in a simulation and lacking direct appearances from the creators, we A) cannot know we are living in a simulation; and B) cannot know the motivations of said creators.

              Assuming our agreement on those two points, it stands to reason that any “knowledge” we have of our creators will have been the product of some person’s “narrative” rather than any sort of divine revelation. Therefore, it stands to reason that any and all divine texts were penned and authored by some person’s invention, making the legitimacy of those texts’ divinity void, thus removing any sort of requirement placed on us to adhere our lives and beliefs to them.

              This is a purely logical view of this case. I am not applying empathy to this particular point because there isn’t a place for it. Now, if I then took that conclusion and used it as my reasoning for why people everywhere should burn their holy texts and adhere to atheism, then you can call me out for “lacking empathy”.

              …That’s how faith works: give a little something that looks like the truth, then all related IS the truth.

              I am not arguing that point at all. If we are given proof that a creator exists, absent of any further knowledge on the subject, people who are religious will remain religious, and people who aren’t religious probably won’t become so. People are stubborn in that fact, that even given evidence that their beliefs might be wrong, they are more likely to change the perspective on the evidence to make it support their beliefs than they are to admit that they might be wrong. And conversely, given evidence that even a small part of their beliefs are founded in truth, they will bunker down and use that as concrete evidence to justify all of their faith.

              I’m not sure I follow this paragraph.

              If you are meaning “truth” as in the narratives that seek to explain the unknowns, like how and why the creator created the simulation, SURROUNDING the proof that we are living in a simulation, then OF COURSE, just like religions, these narratives’ “truths” will drift in time.

              However, if you are meaning that the “truth” is the proof that is scientifically produced for the existence of the simulation–and by deduction, the creator–then, I really don’t understand your reasoning.

              When I refer to “the truth”, I am referring to whatever concrete knowledge we would gain about the existence of creators. So yes, the “scientific proof that is not subject to speculation”. We are talking about literally the same thing here. If given the aforementioned proof, people will still have questions, and they will still conjure their own explanations to answer them.

              What I have done is extend the scenario further into the future, to a time period where anyone who was living at the time of the revelation has long since died, and the proof only remains as what has been told and retold generations down the line. The truth will have been bogged town by all the narratives created that surround it to the point that the narratives will be indistinguishable from the truth. What I am referring to is essentially a centuries-long game of Telephone.

              Same reasoning as above. This “irrefutable proof” is repeatable scientifically derived truth. It is tamper- and belief-proof; therefore is not subject to drift as made up narratives are. If such proof were scientifically discovered, it would be as solid and unchangeable as water = H2O.

              So then yes, you are referring to if this proof were given in a state that it is either indefinitely stored in immaculate form or some indesputable scientific experiment gave the proof upon every trial. I have two problems with this scenario, however.

              First, the problem with proof derived such a way is that even if it were indesputable, people will still find ways to despute it. They will insist that, because they were not there to see it themselves, there is no “proof”. Sure, over time society might evolve alongside this truth, but those types of people will always exist. It’s just like how we have had scientific explanations about the vast majority of natural occurances for decades or even centuries, but you still get Bill O’Reilly talking about how “science can’t explain the tides”.

              Second, the scientific community has never been one to accept an answer as-is. If we were to ever come up with an experiment that conclusively proves that a creator exists, scientists won’t stop there. There will be follow-up experiments validating the result, then there will be further experiments to determine how we can communicate with these beings, how much control they have over this simulation, if there are ways to manually manipulate the simulation or break out of it entirely, and so on. So while I can agree that initially the knowledge of a creator will bolster religions around the globe, the later progress that science would make in learning about the nature of said creators would eventually lead to the downfall of widespread religion. People might still look to the creators for help, but it wouldn’t be a mystical entity that they pray to but a real existant being, and like I said before, that affects the nature of the communication.

              Now that we have cleared up how you’ve been approaching this hypothetical situation, it’s only fair that I clear up how I’ve been viewing it. When I have referenced the manifestation of this truth coming out, what I was referring to is some global event where the skies part and time and space themselves tear assunder, so everyone can see with their own eyes the creators looking down on us. This is the only way that many people will believe something that goes against what they believe – not to be fed a scientific proof down the vine, but to actually witness something with their own senses.

              And that is the truth I have been referring to that will eventually and inevitably be corrupted by the passage of time.

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              Thanks, Abion47. We have both presented our arguments, but it seems we will always be of two very different minds. So, again, thank you very much for the discussion. :)

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              When I have referenced the manifestation of this truth coming out, what I was referring to is some global event where the skies part and time and space themselves tear asunder, so everyone can see with their own eyes the creators looking down on us.

              Sorry. Just stumbled across this comment again. Seriously, has anything like this ever happened before? Can you really expect anything like this to happen in the future.

              Are you being at all realistic?

              Using this “manifestation of this truth coming out” as your reference is akin to what would generally be called a supernatural event. OF COURSE this type of “truth” would experience religion-like drift over time.

              I’m not saying that such a fantastical event couldn’t happen, but… how many supernatural events have you experienced in your lifetime? How many do you expect you might experience in the future? In all the history of the world–past, present, and future–do you know or expect you will know of any proof for such an event?

              Are you being at all realistic?

              If evidence that we are living in a simulation would ever come, don’t you think that it would be more likely to come the way that all of our deep truths about the underlying nature has come, through insights gained from experiments like those at the LHC, deep explorations of quantum phenomena, or some other scientific exploration rather than a near-religious supernatural event such as “the skies part and time and space themselves tear asunder, so everyone can see with their own eyes the creators looking down on us”?

              Are you being at all realistic?

              There might be a reason why no one fully understands quantum phenomenon and why we have to invent many conflicting Interpretations to try to make sense of it–the weirdness of quantum phenomena may point toward the existence and discoverability of a supernatural realm (a realm above or below nature) that our natural sciences find tricky to probe. Don’t you feel that this is far more likely a pathway to discovering that we exist inside of a simulation rather than looking to “some global event where the skies part and time and space themselves tear asunder”?

              Are you being at all realistic?

              These are just rhetorical questions … given that you used an imaginary supernatural event as the basis for your reasoning.

            • Abion47

              Oh I’m sorry, I was under the impression that we were talking about a hypothetical reality. I took that assumption to mean that we could imagine multiple possible scenarios in which such a reality could come into existence. I’m sorry that I didn’t realize we were trying to be “realistic”.

              Seriously, we are discussing an event where we discover that we are living within a 100% simulated reality being governed by an entity or entities with full manipulative control over said reality, whose goals motives could be anything we could or could not possibly imagine. We are talking about an event that might or might not have happened or will happen at any given point on the time line of human history, stretching from our prehistorical origins to the unpredictable distant future.

              And along the lines of these entities that have 100% control over this reality, you seriously think that such an event happening under “supernatural” conditions is beyond the realm of possibility? We are talking about a supreme being, whatever that term may entail. You yourself said that our sciences are based on our interpretation of our nature, something which an outside entity would view completely differently than we would. This being, this “God”, could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, for whatever reason, and our sciences be damned.

              No, the difference between our approaches to this hypothetical scenario is not one of “science vs. supernatural”, or “possible vs. improbable”. The only difference is that you assume that the way we discover that we live in a simulation is by our own means, whereas I take the possibility that such a revelation could come to pass by our overseer choosing to reveal himself at his leisure, even taking into account the possibility that such an event may have already happened in our distant past.

              Oh, and when I ask a rhetorical question, I don’t repeat it over and over again. If the question need not be answered, it shouldn’t need to be repeatedly asked.

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              Seriously, we are discussing an event where we discover that we are living within…

              Key word: discover.

            • Abion47

              Last I checked, discoveries can be made by accident, or due to forces outside the discoverer’s control. Like how we discovered X-ray radiation and invented Penicillin.

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              Right, and each one can be tested and repeated, unlike “revelation” from beyond.

            • Abion47

              A discovery and a science experiment are not the same thing. We can test and verify X-ray radiation, but we can’t “re-discover” it.

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              Sure we can. That’s what students do in labs every day.

              The point that I’ve been expressing all along is looking to what is most likely, not what is remotely possible.

              If you want to go with the ultra remote possibility as the foundation of your reasoning, then OK, go for it.

            • Abion47

              Sure we can. That’s what students do in labs every day.

              And, again, those that discover X-rays will have already discovered it, and can therefore never discover it again. They can validate and test to their hearts content, though. Hence the difference between discoveries and tests.

              The point that I’ve been expressing all along is looking to what is most likely, not what is remotely possible.

              Once again, we are discussing the possible existence of omnipotent beings who couldn’t care less about the restrictions of our science. Talking about what is most likely given our understanding of nature is not taking into account the fact that these beings invented our nature.

              If you want to go with the ultra remote possibility as the foundation of your reasoning, then OK, go for it.

              I’m going with any possibility as the foundation of my reasoning. That’s the whole point of discussing philosophical hypotheticals like this – to discuss any and all possibilities and follow them to logical conclusions.

              The philosophical approach is discussing what is possible, whereas the scientific approach is discussing what is probable. And seeing as this event we are talking about isn’t something that we could reasonably guess at given our current understanding of the universe, discussing what is “most likely” will either lead in circles or to dead ends.

              I do find it amusing that not 48 hours ago, you were accusing me of lacking empathy, when it turns out that all along you were the one adhering yourself to the strictly scientific mindset. But if you continue to insist on approaching this topic in that way, then I do believe we have nothing further to discuss.

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              And, again, those that discover X-rays will have already discovered it, and can therefore never discover it again.

              Ahh, so by rote is the only way that one learns; never by experiment to discover anew for one’s self. I see.

              Once again, we are discussing the possible existence of omnipotent beings who couldn’t care less about the restrictions of our science.

              Ahh, a new narrative as to the nature of our hypothetical creators. Quite fascinating that you somehow KNOW that they couldn’t care less.

              Talking about what is most likely given our understanding of nature is not taking into account the fact that these beings invented our nature.

              Precisely why would rely on our proven methods of discovery rather than waiting on the epitome of remote possibilities–a revelation from beyond.

              I’m going with any possibility as the foundation of my reasoning. That’s the whole point of discussing philosophical hypotheticals like this – to discuss any and all possibilities and follow them to logical conclusions.

              Sure. But it adds nothing to deciding what is most likely. How ’bout we throw in that dinosaurs might be resurrected from the Earth, become our new scaly overlords as they reveal that they are computing gods who have simply been hibernating in the bowels of the Earth for millennia ? It’s as possible as a revelation from beyond, therefore, should be included in the discussion as a possibility, right?

              The philosophical approach is discussing what is possible, whereas the scientific approach is discussing what is probable.

              Sorry, my friend. You’re attempting to change the basis of the original discussion. Both approaches are philosophical because we’re talking about something hypothetical. Recall that you opened with…

              If it were ever proven that life as we knew it were just a simulated reality, I imagine that it would mentally break people significantly. Some would go around continuing to deny it regardless, as believing this is the life that matters is the only way they know how to live. Some would be driven to depression, coming to the realization that nothing they’ve ever known or done was “real”. Some would drive themselves insane wondering about the new implications of this knowledge. I’d wager that the people who would be largely unaffected by this would be pretty small, and that number would get smaller and smaller the older a person is.

              …and I countered with…

              kalqlate says: You ignore the obvious: It would be immediately deduced by the vast majority that our simulation was created and therefore has an omnipotent and omniscient creator–god or gods–able to be worshiped and prayed to with the hope that the creator is capable of hearing and answering prayers. (You forget that, among other attributes, humans are largely a hopeful, suggestive, imaginitive, needy, gullible, and superstitious, lot.)

              …and went on to discuss the creation of narratives, etc.

              Science only came into the picture when trying to determine how we would DISCOVER that we exist in a simulation.

              You somehow have to get from here to there.

              Big question: Which is more likely…

              (a) that maybe through the weirdness of quantum phenomena or some other weird scientifically discoverable phenomena that goes beyond our current understanding that we poke into the supernatural (beyond nature) to discover that we are in something that looks and acts like a simulation, or

              (b) that our hypothetical creators will cause “some global event where the skies part and time and space themselves tear asunder” such that they then reveal that we are living in a simulation?

              Seriously, given all that we know that is actually knowable beyond belief, which pathway, (a) or (b), is most likely?

              And seeing as this event we are talking about isn’t something that we could reasonably guess at given our current understanding of the universe, discussing what is “most likely” will either lead in circles or to dead ends.

              Then why are you attempting to dismiss my counter to the best guess you submitted with your opening statement? Recall that you opened with…

              If it were ever proven that life as we knew it were just a simulated reality, I imagine that it would mentally break people significantly. …

              Since when were philosophical discussions not in search of some degree of “truth”, provable or otherwise? I see we need to consult Dictionary . com again for you:

              Dictionary . com / philosophy

              1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.

              Now, you declare the whole philosophical discussion of trying to determine what will happen if we one day discover that we exist in a simulation will lead in circles or a dead end if we seek to look at human nature and human history to determine what is most likely to happen? Hahaha… smells like a cop out to me. 😀

              I do find it amusing that not 48 hours ago, you were accusing me of lacking empathy, when it turns out that all along you were the one adhering yourself to the strictly scientific mindset.

              If I were adhering to science and lacking empathy, I would not have suggested that people would maintain or increase their religiosity. Maybe, I would’ve done exactly as you did and initially ignored the propensity for spirituality and religiosity altogether. (Recall your opening comment.)

              But if you continue to insist on approaching this topic in that way, then I do believe we have nothing further to discuss.

              You really don’t have to throw out accusation of my having an approach that is beneath reasonable discussion. If you want to end the discussion, simply state it as I have and will repeat again here…

              Thanks, Abion47. We have both presented our arguments, but it seems we will always be of two very different minds. So, again, thank you very much for the discussion. :)

            • Abion47

              Ahh, so by rote is the only way that one learns; never by experiment to discover anew for one’s self. I see.

              That is not at all what I said. What I said is that the event of discovery is not equivalent to the event of testing and experimentation. The point that I’ve been trying to make is that discoveries can be made as a result of experimentation, but they can also easily happen by random occurrance, as demonstrated by some of our biggest discoveries to date.

              Ahh, a new narrative as to the nature of our hypothetical creators. Quite fascinating that you somehow KNOW that they couldn’t care less.

              You know, I’m getting real sick of you trying to discredit my arguments by telling me that I’m “creating narritives”. As human beings, we make assumptions. Just as I worked under the assumption that all-powerful beings would be able to make their presence known at any moment, you similarly worked under the assumption that such an event either couldn’t possibly happen or the possibility is so small as to not be worth discussing.

              I don’t know how many times I have to say this. We are discussing an event about which we cannot know anything for certain. Therefore, assumptions have to be made. You somehow trying to negate my arguments because they are based on assumptions is neither warranted nor useful for discussion.

              Precisely why we would rely on our proven methods of discovery rather than waiting on the epitome of remote possibilities–a revelation from beyond.

              Never have I even once said that in order to determine if we are in a simulation that we should “wait for a revelation from beyond”. What I did say is that I entertain all possibilities of such a determination being made.

              How ’bout we throw in that dinosaurs might be resurrected from the Earth, become our new scaly overlords as they reveal that they are computing gods who have simply been hibernating in the bowels of the Earth for eons?

              Because there’s a difference between exploring all realms of possibility and being facetious.

              Sorry, my friend. You’re attempting to change the basis of the original discussion.

              The basis of this discussion changed a long time ago. The ORIGINAL discussion was how humans might react to such an event taking place. But then in discussing that, we were more or less in agreement, and the discussion moved into the realm of HOW the event would take place. And at this point of the discussion, the major disagreement is in whether we should discuss what is “possible” and what is “most likely”.

              Big question: Which is more likely…

              Okay, fine. Let’s explore your side of the equation.

              Seeing that we have literally no idea where the exploration into the world of quantum physics will take us, it would be largely premature to say that looking into that avenue will answer the question of if we are living in a simulation. Let me see if I can illustrate this with a metaphor.

              Imagine that someone is walking along an abandoned road. They don’t know when the road will reach a town, but they know it is likely that it eventually will. They also know that, since this road is abandoned, it is unlikely that anyone else will arrive in a car to give them a lift. So in this scenario, is it more likely that they will reach the town, or that a car will arrive to give them a lift?

              How do you even answer that question? Do you say that it is more likely that they will find the town by walking just due to the sheer inevitability of it? Or do you weigh the fact that, though the chance is slim in every instance, the chance still remains at every point along the entire journey that a driver will appear? How do you determine the difference in likelihood of success between one model where eventual success is near certain but the amount of time elapsed before that success is achieved is indeterminable and could stretch toward infinity, and another model where the chance of success is slim but could occur at any moment?

              (And that’s ignoring the possibility that quantum physics may never reach a point where we could reasonably say our universe is a simulation.)

              Then why are you attempting to dismiss my counter to the best guess you submitted with your opening statement?

              Again, the topic of our discussion has changed since that “opening statement”. I am not dismissing your initial counter, because that is no longer within the scope of what we are currently talking about. What I’m dismissing is your notion that, when discussing an event where we have no understanding whatsoever regarding its nature, that any one manifestation of the event is somehow “inferior” to any other.

              Since when were philosophical discussions not in search of some degree of “truth”, provable or otherwise?

              When you started classifying possibilities in terms of their likelihood while discussing an event that by its very nature infers infinite possibilities with unknowable likelihoods.

              Seeking what is “most likely” helps us to winnow down the “possibilities”…

              And that approach is reasonable and even laudible if we were talking about something tangable, but when the topic is something that our understanding of science cannot even hope to comprehend, seeking to “winnow down possibilities” only results in shutting down what could very well be viable avenues of discussion.

              If I were adhering to science and lacking empathy, I would not have suggested that people would maintain or increase their religiosity. Maybe, I would’ve done exactly as you did and initially ignored the propensity for spirituality and religiosity altogether. (Recall your opening comment.)

              Once again you are referring to a topic of discussion that has long since past. And what I was referring to was for your talk of how you felt it important to maintain empathy in philosophical discussion, you have been quick to dismiss a scenario within a purely hypothetical setting that you feel to be scientifically without merit.

              You really don’t have to throw out accusation of my having an approach that is beneath reasonable discussion.

              The fact that I once again have to clarify what I was talking about was basically the point of what I said. I was not implying that your approach is beneath reasonable discussion. What I was getting at was that it has been becoming increasingly clear that, during the course of our entire discussion, we have been operating under different assumptions on what the nature of the discussion is about. If we cannot reach a stable ground in which we can achieve intelligent discussion without having to second-guess the foundations of each other’s arguments, that is why I say that there isn’t really any further need to be running in circles.

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              Hahaha… that’s why my question a few comments ago was rhetorical… because I knew you would just simply twist and gyrate to stretch to find anything that you figured if you spew enough words around it, it might come out sounding reasonable.

              For example, you want me to accept that because we are talking about a hypothetical, anything goes. Sorry… no can do. That’s like saying that ANYTHING GOES, like riding on the backs of bunnies in spacesuits when speaking of space travel to the stars. Well, travel to the stars is a hypothetical, so getting there on the backs of bunnies in spacesuits must be a reasonable possibility for fulfilling that hypothetical, right? And whether my comment is facetious or not does not make it any less a possibility than a supernatural revelation. You’re just wanting to sidestep the question. Fine, but you give yourself away. You are willing to say anything to justify and defend the indefensible for ego’s sake. 😀

              Oh well, I’ll let continue to convince yourselves and others that that’s reasonable.

            • Abion47

              Hahaha… that’s why my question a few comments ago was rhetorical… because I knew you would just simply twist and gyrate to stretch to find anything that you figured if you spew enough words around it, it might come out sounding reasonable.

              Just like I knew that you would continue to think my remarks were a “twisting and gyrating of words”, due to you having made it abundantly clear that you have gotten so full of your own arguments that I could lay down the most undeniable truth in the world and you would still lift your nose at it. You started this discussion by using nebulous concepts to fund your arguments, and now you hide behind the blanket accusation of refusing to entertain possibilities you deem to be beneath you. You are beginning to sound like hummingbird below, operating under the deluded belief that dismissal of a topic equates to disproval.

              For example, you want me to accept that because we are talking about a hypothetical, anything goes.

              No, I want you to accept that anything goes precisely because we are discussing an event where, by definition, anything is possible to go.

              Well, travel to the stars is a hypothetical, so getting there on the backs of bunnies in spacesuits must be a reasonable possibility for fulfilling that hypothetical and discussed alongside VASIMR and the potential science behind space warping mechanisms, right?

              Again, we are not talking about something tangable, like the potential for space travel, but something completely foreign in concept. And again, there is a difference between accepting all possibilities and being facetious. Since you are so fond of using dictionary definitions when you are feeling particularly self-important, perhaps I can return the favor in telling you just what “facetious” means:

              Dictionary . com / facetious

              1. not meant to be taken seriously or literally.

              2. amusing; humorous.

              3. lacking serious intent; concerned with something nonessential, amusing, or frivolous

              Proposing the possibility of an all-powerful being making himself known by means of a global supernatural event is an example of discussing a hypothetical possibility. Saying that said being is a dancing plaid cow wearing a top hat and speaking only in Pig-Latin is an example of belittling that possibility by converting it into a parodical farce. Ergo, facetious.

              Guess what? They are both KNOWN to be possible. Your supernatural revelation is not KNOWN to be possible. FAIL!

              Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was speaking with a time traveler who is an expert in futuristic quantum science, who has explored the vast realms of the multiverse and found the tome of infinite knowledge, within which resides all the unknowable truths of existence.

              (By the way, that’s another example of being facetious, in case you were wondering.)

              Following your logic, it is not KNOWN that a supernatural event can occur, but neither is it KNOWN we can learn whether we inhabit a simulation by applying scientific advancement, nor if it is possible that such a simulation even exists. The only things we can KNOW are the paths we take to try and attain our goal (walking down the road), not that our goal of discovery is even possible (reaching the town) or whether a revelation will occur to answer our questions for us before we can even reach the end of our path by our own means (a car appearing).

              And by the way, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the content of your replies is swiftly devolving into a quality that resembles the average Youtube comment. “Fail”? Really? There goes any notion I may have had that you have any intentions of keeping this within the realms of intelligent discussion.

              Scientific discovery is KNOWN to be possible

              But it is NOT known what it is we can or will discover, nor how long it will take us to do so.

              if we, if WE, if WE, if WE

              You sure like repetitions of four when you get on your soapbox, doncha?

              want to try to discover by our own means if we are living in a simulation.

              Now who is employing wishful thinking?

              Again, when is the last time that a supernatural revelation has occurred?

              If such proof existed, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion, so I’m afraid I must call you out on your magnificently loaded question. But again, I present the possibility that if such a revelation had occurred to primeval humans, that which we DO know regarding the evolution of religions, as well as the similarities between distinct religions, would certainly allow the possibility within the realm of plausibility.

              When is the last time that the scientific method has been used for discovery? Oh, again, rhetorical.

              It’s admirable that you think continuously capping your replies with rhetorical questions makes your arguments sound somehow more complete.

            • Just_PrimalSoup

              “Religious agenda?” kalqlate is merely giving his POV. “Indulge your rhetoric?” I think it is great to see mature, intelligent conversation between people. Kind of a rarity in the blogosphere. Nobody needs to get offended here. If I were you, I’d welcome such debate. Hard to find these days.

              As always, IMO.

            • Just_PrimalSoup

              Whoa. I’m scrolling down. Gonna need that second cup of coffee it looks like. 😉

            • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003252224380 kalqlate

              My finger that operates my mouse’s scroll wheel popped off and ran away screaming when it realized that it might not ever reach the bottom of that comment. 😀

            • Just_PrimalSoup

              [laughing] There’s a visual for ya. 😉

          • HEY ABBOTT

            Just_PrimalSoup mentioned below that you nailed it (she is waiting for your response).

            I also want to tell you you nailed it!

            Are you and primal going to be doing those long off-topic and personal “exchanges” on this page?

            And posting Abbott and Costello vids like here…
            http://bigthink.com/videos/bill-nye-on-the-existence-of-forever#comment-2255030791

    • Olga Zurova

      When you believe in nothing, you’ll believe in anything.

      • Mike Wright

        that makes zero sense. if you believe in nothing, you’ll believe in “nothing”. your logic actually applies to the other side. if you believe in something, you are capable of believing in anything.

        • hummingbird

          It is supposed to sound “wise”.

      • MyTwoSents

        Lol the funny thing is, at least when it comes to ideological beliefs, our minds are a blank slate at birth. Religious beliefs are taught to us. So it’s more like this: If you accept one fairy tale as fact you’re more likely to believe in a multitude of fairy tales. But it’s cute that you think the opposite of nothing is god.

    • William taylor

      Well.An argument in a hologram concerning cyber existence.
      I’m hitting the escape button…

    • AngrySponge, llc

      but of course………………L.I.F.E., G.O.D., metaphorical qubits, in need of reboot

    • jimh

      This line of argument strikes me as being massively unproductive. It begins with a complete, unquestioning assumption that consciousness is an epiphenomenal side effect of some sort of process with a basically unrelated purpose. In this case, that process is a program running on a computing system outside of our perceivable reality. And of course it’s a computer, because we currently love the concept of the computer, having just recently discovered it. Video games look like reality, don’t they?

      If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

    • Rachel Nichols

      I don’t understand, if this world was made up then the only thing that is supposed to make sense is something that cannot be thought or felt or understood as an actual thought that could take place? wouldn’t that make the people doing it unintelligent and not capable of speech?

    • SPGardner

      An even more incredible notion than a God/Scientist running a simulation of our universe, trying to tie up some loose ends on his thesis about string theory, would be that we are somehow even showing up in the data. Likely nothing more than some snap, crackle or pops as part of the background noise. Such a being would only need a glance to know everything there is to know about all of us beginning to end. A spark going from one neuron to another and then forgotten. Be careful how big you make your god, he may just forget all about you.

    • al

      the glitch is called daja vu

    • WonDingDong

      No no, nobody has to simulate physical reality. There’s lots of matter already. It’s the mental part that would have to be simulated…in other words, so much as a person was “in the mind of God” they would be ‘simulated’ in some sense.

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7BO_hqe_q0 Alone: bad. Friend: good!

      Everything actually is made out of strings, just NOT the string theory type.

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7BO_hqe_q0 Alone: bad. Friend: good!

      A simulation and reality are just about the same.
      Even supposed solid matter is actually mostly empty space.
      Reality and / or the simulation would both be a conglomeration of particles with electrical signals traversing and being stored in them.

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7BO_hqe_q0 Alone: bad. Friend: good!

      Yes, math is great but you could have two people with completely opposite / opposing theories. The maths for both (theories) could be peered reviewed and deemed absolutely stinkin’ correct.
      But only one of the theories can be correct so that means one of the theories must be wrong.

      They actually both might be wrong.

      So if you prove something with math you actually DID NOT prove or disprove anything.

    • stevie 1950

      I – SO – totally and emphatically agree that I am living in a computer simulation.

      Everything that’s happened to me since the alleged conceptual splitting of my first 2 cells in my mother’s womb, my ‘existence’ ever since tells me it is true.

      I have been suffereing these past 65, no, 66 years since my “conception” inside a Virtual Reality program.

      What I’ve been suspecting for about the past 15 years or so I finally concluded this morning about 6:30 am that it “really” is what I’ve been suspecting it is.

      I am a victim of a psycho-neurological anti-smoking rehab treatment VR program.

      It is very soon now going to ‘arrive’ at it’s final logic conclusion.

      But I’m finally at peace with that, knowing that the joke is on ‘them’, for they are the ones who “really” need rehabilitation.

    • Well_Read

      many cultures have had this belief that we are living in a ‘dream’, that our reality is a product of our conscientiousness and can be changed as we go. Gnostics believed that over 2k yrs ago. That if we want to change our reality all we have to do is change the way we look at things (true for me). as far as a greater entity pulling the strings………..there are no strings on me!! (from the avengers movie)

    • Roy Niles

      They’ve never tried to tell us how a simulation of a brain can nevertheless make observations from its simulated sensory apparatus, analyze their portents from the simulated memory of prior experiences, instinctive and or newly learned, then check their bank of simulated options, and make intelligent predictions re the probable future of their simulated world.

    • XFuncCarter

      Enough!

      Computer simulation is an ARTFORM! It is NOT A SCIENCE!

      Game designers are ARTISTS, NOT SCIENTISTS! They CREATE FICTIONAL WORLDS! That’s what artists do!

      Even if they create these worlds to understand the real world, they are still creators.

      Game design is NOT a method of inquiry into the physical world. It is a syntax, a langugage. An artform.

      It’s like documentary filmmaking. You can use it to explore and explain scientific subject matter, BUT IT’S STILL AN ARTFORM!

    • Curious1

      It seems that the universe (or multiverse?) contains and is a result of many simulations and not one. Perhaps a combination of parallel and consecutive
      simulations.

      A simple example is the iterations of DNA which creates various species and various
      versions of the same species, each can be considered as a realization of such
      an iteration. To this, add the possibility of life (if DNA-based) in other
      solar systems,… which makes a gigantic orchestra of simulations.

      There must be reasons for such a complicated design of iterations and
      simulations by whoever or whatever designed it.

      • Curious1

        I should add to what I wrote above that I completely disagree with the so called “computer” simulation as the title of the article says. It seems that it’s a real world, physical simulation which has been happening as I wrote above if you look at the big picture.

        Curious1

    • Kevin Palembas

      This bears a striking resemblance to an episode of Star Trek: Voyager in which the holograms in one of the holodeck programs suddenly became aware of things they weren’t supposed to, albeit against their programming. Things like the crew’s bizarre clothing (uniforms), holodeck control panels, walking into nothingness (holodeck exits) and their ability to alter their environment with the push of a button or voice commands.

      Sounds familiar?

    • stephen dickens

      They are partially correct, but there is a flaw in their understanding.
      Its not that the external universe does not exist, nor is it even a
      machine, at least not the kind they are thinking of anyway. They
      misunderstand that we exist in a biological simulated universe, all
      within the brain, that has recreated that second hand or recreated
      universe based on the data gathered from the bodies external senses. We
      do not directly perceive the external universe, as the data from such
      must filter through or into our senses before we become aware of it. For
      example try to understand this. We see nothing past the limits of the
      eyeball, the eyeball can not see light outside of itself. We only see
      light after that light has entered the eyeball itself, and then that
      light must be translated into data or electrical chemical impulses and
      sent as data to the brain, and then that data must be processed by the
      brain as to what it represents. And then the brain recreates a second
      hand or virtual recreation or reality all within the brain itself, based
      upon that data, and then the brain places you there in that recreated
      virtual biological reality all within the brain, looking at that
      recreated image. Try to grasp this, you do not exist outside of the
      brain, and the reality you experience of the external world is but a
      biological second hand recreation made within the brain itself. The body
      is outside of the brain, you are inside of the brain, existing in a
      network of neuronal chemical electrical brain cell firing. You are but a
      biological program so to speak within the brain, and so is the
      seemingly external recreated reality you think you experience externally
      that is really internally a recreation in the brain. This reality is
      based on or created according to the external data gathered from the
      bodies senses. This does not mean the external universe or reality is
      not real by any means. Just that the version you experience of it is
      virtual or a recreation of such inside the brain. Try to understand that
      the bodies senses do not perceive data beyond the limits of the
      external body itself. And as said above, even the eyeball does not see
      light or images that are outside of the eyeball itself. It can only see
      light or images after they are within the limits of the eyeball, inside
      the eyeball, on the back of the eyeball. Once you grasp this, understand
      this, you will get a greater understanding of what is real, what is
      virtual, what you are and where you are even. Given that the bodies
      senses can not sense or perceive data that is outside or beyond the
      body. The senses that are called sight,sound,touch,smell and feel can
      only register data or information once that data is on or inside of the
      senses. These senses can not register data that is beyond the limits or
      shape of the external body. So everything beyond the external shape of
      the body is a blank or nothing to the senses if you can grasp this, this
      gives a totally different view of external reality and how much of it
      you are really aware of, and one can only imagine what may really be
      there.

    • Scarlett Foxx

      It’s simple the universe and everything in it is a computer generated environment we are on the outside of this environment and our consciousness is downloaded into the computer generated environment as these avatars firstly into the animal chain then once we reach a certain level of awareness we then move on to the humanid form again living out specifically chosen lives that must be lived out to attain a more powerful consciousness x

      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7BO_hqe_q0 Alone: bad. Friend: good!

        “we are on the outside of this environment” — so, where are we?

        And if everything is a computer generated environment… is there a computer? Where is it?

    • http://www.cd-genomics.com Ann White

      All things can be possible cause we don’t know what is “truth”.

    • Gaurav Gulati

      This is a pretty radical theory and the possibility of Superminds is more of less the same as God(s). Or perhaps, Superminds are the Gods, per say. If we Believe that “If there’s a creation, there’s a creator” and that we’re God’s creations – Then, that God can very well be the Superminds and “The Simulation” becomes their creation. Of course the existence or non-existence of either can’t be proved (Yet!). Many religions might say that We’re real and God is real and Superminds theory is bogus cuz most of their Holy Books cite prophecies that have come true – One can debate the statement by the same logic – That this might just also be part of the Simulation – Rules, models, beliefs, methods, systems, functions etc – so that it all seems real to the beings in the simulation. So ofcourse We’re Real – For our world, WE ARE!). But some intriguing questions arise:

      How would you explain the existence of Dark Matter and Black Holes?
      How would you explain not being able to find the Edge/end of Universe?
      Of all the planets, stars, moons – Why we can’t find Alien life anywhere we point in space?
      How would you explain Deja Vu or Inception like feeling (Lucid Dreaming)?
      How would you explain the theories about existence of parallel universes?
      How do you explain all the war, misery, politics, religion, system, culture, rules?
      How would you explain “Miracles”?
      How would you explain only some people with superhuman potentials – physical or mental?

      To me, It all seems so Roleplayer Game/simulation like ..cuz everything around us is defined …for enjoyment/fun ..and no God is saving the world from any misery. The Roleplaying games we create/see today – are more of less a reflection of the world around us – Add to those Games a crazy level of Artificial Intelligence and the characters in the game will be thinking and making decisions by themselves – essentially creating a universe inside a computer ..just like ours – with no boundaries, no alien life, full of miracles and very real !!

      Long story short – Keep an open mind, free spirited, less governed. Because Everything is as Real as you believe it is!

      Cheers!

    • http://www.google.com JohnnyB

      I would like to share some thoughts around some of the technical requirements of simulating a universe. Are any of the people commenting on this article software engineers? If so, I would implore you ponder the technical requirements of simulating an entire universe. To accurately simulate the entire universe down to the smallest iota of detail, one would be required to capture every detail, every pixel, every state of every atom… you would need a computer the size of the universe (scratch that, you would need a storage medium the size of the universe not even considering the size of the rest of the computer). So, I must stand firmly in saying that we do not live in a computer simulation. If you were a super-advanced alien race (or a god), would you create the universe or would you create a computer the size of the universe that is going to simulate a universe… Also, one more thing to consider is that, would the theoretical computer exist in nothingness? Wouldn’t it need a universe to reside within? If so, I revert to my previous question with additional detail: If you were a super-advanced alien race (or a god), would you create a computer the size of the universe that is going to simulate a universe (even though, you would have to create a universe to house the computer)? But… you say, what if one could run countless simulations on this universe computer… Wouldn’t that be very efficient? Well, the universe that houses the universe-simulating computer would theoretically die at the end of the first simulation anyway (meaning the creator would need to re-create the universe that houses the universe-simulating computer each time a single simulation completed). The point I am getting at is that you cannot have a universe-simulating computer without a universe and furthermore, it would not be cost-effective as a supreme being to create the computer if you had to re-create the universe that housed it each time the simulation ended. Or maybe I am completely wrong and everyone on this thread will school me, but I doubt very strongly that we are living in a simulation.

      • Ryan London

        you say this like the universe is big. size is irrelevant. To a cell living in our body, the body is so huge that it could never see everything. There are around 37 trillion cells in the adult body. So, perhaps the universe is very small, small enough to keep in another person’s wallet.

        • http://www.google.com JohnnyB

          Not a bad point, but I would argue that the “computer” simulating your body would be required to not only know the state of each of those cells, but each cell would need to know the state of the cells around it. As the number of cells increases, the information that is processed by the “computer” would grow exponentially. This partially helps to prove my point… It would actually be easier to create something real rather than simulate something that is extremely close to reality.

          • Oink Oink

            Sorry, you do not need to know the state of every cell. You could write a [computer] program that describes the working of a cell in detail then just fill a given area with cells.
            That’s the way computers work.
            Your whole laptop screen could be painted white and it would only be one line of code.
            So you could easily recreated everything with a small amount of code.
            You could write the code then everything could work on its own. Think about what DNA is doing. A variable DNA code program could fill a planet with all kinds of life, just like Earth.

            But you don’t even have to recreated anything at all.
            Everything could be in the program somewhere, inside a computer, completely fake.

            Remember: Fake is not real!

            • http://www.google.com JohnnyB

              Sorry, but you are wrong. Every pixel on the laptop screen is a particular color. That pixel is represented by a minimum of 8 bits (and that only allows for 256 possibilities… and display adapters/monitors can actually display millions of different colors)… At a minimum, each pixel requires 8 bits of working memory in order for that display to work. This means that a considerable amount of memory is required just to display a white screen. There are also layers of code in a computer, and while I could easily display a white screen with a few lines of code, there are several layers of code that allow for that to happen. Much of that work is obfuscated from the programmer to make their lives easier.

              In response to the portion of your comment that the state of every cell would not need to be known… For an individual cell, only the surrounding cells would have to be known. However, the computer is simulating all of those cells, and as such, it would have to keep track of the state of each cell. It would also have to keep track of the location of each cell so that it would appropriately “know” which cells were interacting with each other. This is just common sense at this point… it’s like I am talking to a brick wall. I am done with this article and the Trolls that came with it.

              I will leave this reference from 2012 which highlights the difficulty in simulating just a single cell:

              http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/21/science/in-a-first-an-entire-organism-is-simulated-by-software.html

              Highlights from the article:
              “The simulation, which runs on a cluster of 128 computers, models the complete life span of the cell at the molecular level…”
              “This is a tremendous task, involving the interpretation and integration of a massive amount of data.”
              “Still, they said, the model of the simplest biological system was pushing the limits of their computers.”
              “Right now, running a simulation for a single cell to divide only one time takes around 10 hours and generates half a gigabyte of data,”
              “We often think of the DNA as the storage medium, but clearly there is more to it than that.”
              “The researchers said that more complex cells would present significant challenges. Currently it takes about 9 to 10 hours of computer time to simulate a single division of the smallest cell — about the same time the cell takes to divide in its natural environment.”

    • http://www.google.com JohnnyB

      I would like to discuss some of the technical limitations of simulating an entire universe. Are any of the people commenting on this article software engineers? If so, I would implore you to ponder the technical requirements of simulating an entire universe. To accurately simulate the universe down to the smallest iota of detail, one would be required to capture every detail, every pixel, every state of every atom… you would need a computer the size of the universe (scratch that, you would need a storage medium the size of the universe not even considering the size of the rest of the computer). So, I do not believe we are living in a simulation. If you were a super-advanced alien race (or a god), would you create the universe or would you create a computer the size of the universe that is going to simulate a universe… Also, one more thing to consider is: would the theoretical computer exist in nothingness? Wouldn’t it need a universe to reside within? If so, I revert to my previous question with additional detail: If you were a super-advanced alien race (or a god), would you create a computer the size of the universe that is going to simulate a universe (even though, you would have to create a universe to house the computer)? But… you say, what if one could run countless simulations on this universe computer? Well, the universe that houses the universe-simulating computer would theoretically die at the end of the first simulation anyway (meaning the creator would need to re-create the universe that houses the universe-simulating computer each time a single simulation completed). The point I am getting at is that you cannot have a universe-simulating computer without a universe and furthermore, it would not be cost effective as a supreme being to create the computer if you had to re-create the universe that housed it each time the simulation ended.

      • Oink Oink

        Sorry, you are over-thinking the whole thing.
        If there is a simulation you only have to fool one person… you.

        And nothing actually has to be happening anywhere (like a holodeck). Everything can be happening in the computer and it doesn’t need a lot of info.
        You DO NOT need to know the state of every atom, that is just something you might read in a book.

        Remember: Fake is not real!

        • http://www.google.com JohnnyB

          To accurately simulate the interactions between any two atoms, one would be required to know the state of both of those atoms. The state about these atoms would then need to be stored on a storage medium. But, I’ll bite. Let’s say you do not need to know the state of every atom, and all you have to do is create a picture. If you wanted to create a picture that encompassed the known universe, that picture would require a storage medium the size of the universe. I am not “over-thinking the whole thing.” In my opinion, suggesting that the universe is a simulation is “under-thinking the whole thing”. I must refute your statement of “Everything can be happening in the computer and it doesn’t need a lot of info”… It would require an immense amount of information (even if the simulation were for just one person). Also, things you read in non-fiction books are frequently true or have merit, while articles on the internet can be written by any Tom, Dick, or Harry. The supercomputers that exist today are extremely powerful yet extremely limited (the simulations/models that are used are not complete, and the results don’t always line up with what really happens in reality). They can simulate a local weather system, etc. but they can not simulate all natural events occurring on planet Earth, for example. There are countless variables that are thrown to the side (or not even thought of and this is completely understandable because its impossible to include ALL variables) so that the model or simulation can even be executed (or executed faster). So, we are talking a massive computer with massive computational capacity and it can not simulate anything close to planet Earth in its entirety. My point is sound in that the computer that would house the simulation would be extremely large and it would have to exist “somewhere.” So, my original questions are still sound questions; why would you create a computer to simulate a universe if you would have to make a universe to house that computer in the first place?

          • Oink Oink

            Sorry, you can easily fool one person. The brain you think you are using to figure everything out is also part of the computer.
            The computer can make you think and believe anything it wants.

            Remember: Fake is not real!

          • Ryan London

            And how long have computers been around? What if we continue to progress for say, 2 million years? A person born 150 years ago wouldn’t be able to process everything in today’s world, so take 2 million years. What woudn’t you be able to do is the real question.

            • http://www.google.com JohnnyB

              You know what, I think you (and Oink Oink) are actually correct here. It’s so simple, we can just simulate the Universe (or some other advanced race can). Being that it is so simple to simulate everything that is happening in the Universe just by saying it is so… The same must be true for other impossible tasks. Such as: faster than light travel?… no problem (because I just said it is possible)… World Peace?… no problem (because I just said it is possible)… Millions of people dying due to starvation?… not on our watch… Just because you say something is simple does not make it so. If it is so simple to simulate a Universe and you only have to fool each individual, then go do it. I was hoping to get into an intellectual discussion about the technical requirements/feasibility of simulating a universe, but it seems I am communicating with either a bunch of Trolls or a bunch of third-graders… either way, you (and the creator of this article) lack the understanding of what it would take to actually simulate a Universe. Even if you could encode information into DNA (which we have technically achieved, but not at a mass scale), it would still take the entire universe to house all of the information about the universe… This is literally impossible (no matter how advanced you are). To even pretend that this idea has merit is beyond ridiculous. Neither of you Trolls have addressed either of my questions in the original post. I will equate this to the probability that we will one day be able to observe the “strings” that are described in String Theory. The “strings” that supposedly make up the universe are so small they would require a machine the size of the universe in order to see them (meaning we will never be able to directly observe them)… this does not mean we will never be able to prove their existence, as there have been several theories that were proven indirectly. However, it is very clear that we will never be able to Directly observe a “string” as they are described by String Theory. The same can be said for simulating a Universe. This is of course my opinion and you are entitled to your own opinion, but I would ask that you reconsider as your opinion is likely wrong in this case. It seems you are unable to grasp the complexity, beauty, and size of the Universe as we know it. Otherwise you would be in just much disbelief as I am in right now at the fact that there are people (you, Oink Oink, et al.) who believe this (we are living in a simulation) might be possible. I will save further dialogue for a topic with readers who can engage in a useful discussion rather than make empty assertions.

      • Maximus Bourne

        You don’t need to simulate anything real. It’d be like a computer programming writing different DNA codes. Only for the structure of the Universe itself. Your statement is like saying it’d be impossible to write Microsoft Word, because you couldn’t simulate or know what each writer will write into Microsoft Word.

    • marc a bay

      If you are open and aware you will see crazy coincidences happen. I’ve seen this three times. It’s always given me the feeling tgthat this is a simulation. As example, I once saw a very rare Motorcycle on a road side in the city. The next day I saw the same Motorcycle 100+ miles away. It’s not the sort of bike that collectors would keep or restore, and there it was. Not a similar bike, the same bike. I know bikes. It was also parked on the road side in the same way. It was repeated.
      I accept that this is a scientific blog, and I sound crazy, but I’m not.
      I only wonder if others have had this experience.

    • Edward W

      A civilization that advanced would already know how it would evolve , Why make a simulation, and then make an identical simulation that has the same result ? Maybe it’s a nostalgic simulation to remember what the universe and humans use to look like before manipulation of our own dna and universe .

      • Maximus Bourne

        Relatively infinite number of reasons possible.
        A. Eventually, a physical Universe will die. Someone in a dying physical Universe who has developed eternal consciousness might develop simulations to “live on”, if only through simulations.
        B. Why do humans play video game simulations?
        C. Why do humans climb mountains that might cause death, which others have already climbed?

    • Nag Hammadi

      This theory is compatible with the Nag Hammadi and correct religious doctrine, although the “advanced civilization” is actually a being, his name is God.

      • Maximus Bourne

        God #1,God #2, or God ~#infinity?