On 2/25/07, Mark Peaty <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

 I think we have been through this before actually.

Thanks for being patient, sometimes I just like to argue :0

Can you point to any aspect of the world which can't be simulated no matter
> how powerful the computer?
> MP: For us mortals, this universe is in many respects infinite. If
> 'someone' IS running it within a 'computer' then they have to be running all
> of it. Why? Because humans can do science. This means that our little brains
> can come up with questions about everything and we do; in fact we can say
> that 'we' - collectively the whole human species - must have asked questions
> about everything we already have beliefs about. The formal and systematic
> way of checking out answers to practical questions of fact is through the
> assertion of an explanation which is able to make specific predictions
> because we assume causality, then someone sets up experimental situation to
> test the predictions. Now the experiment will either falsify the assertions
> of the explanation because the predictions were not correct, or the
> predictions will turn out to be correct in which case the assertions will
> gain strength as explanatory tools and become linked, in the minds of ever
> more people, with all the other assertions that didn't get falsified. The
> more this happens, the more the universe is constrained to comply with our
> explanations. 'So what?' you say.
> Well, as curious people keep asking questions about their world, so more
> and more pervasive and detailed application of scientific theory occurs.
> Curious kids grow up to be curious adults, and some are always going to
> refuse to be fobbed off with the 'because it IS' response. And the ways of
> asking questions are potentially infinite because answers get re-input as
> new questions, which more or less guarantees non-linear results. So newer
> experiments get created which just by the by incorporate new juxtapositions
> of previously accepted results as part of the experimental set up. Over time
> this effectively demands that the accepted theories have to be 100% correct
> because any slight errors will be multiplied over time. Now I realise this
> is a rather informal way of asserting this but, as I said before,
> plain-English is what I want and yes I know this does seem to make things
> long winded. But the bottom line here is that, over time, scientific
> theories are constrained to be ever more exactly correct with less and less
> margin for error. In effect the human species will test just about all
> significant and practically useful theories to vanishingly small tolerances
> so whatever might be 'simulating' the universe as seen from planet Earth has
> ever less margin for error. Simply put the 'universe in the bottle' has to
> be perfectly consistent and ontologically complete.
> So the conspiratorial simulators must have 'computers' that are able to
> increase their representational power to infinite precision when needed. And
> can the conspirators predict before they start the simulation running just
> precisely what tests and outlandish ideas the humans will come up with? I
> think not.
> I think this means that Stathis's 'no matter how powerful the computer?'
> is a bit of a cheat [nothing personal you understand; what I am saying is
> that I think the whole project of Mathematical universe and 'Comp' may be
> just a very sophisticated house of cards.] I believe that either all of our
> universe as seen on, at and from planet Earth is being simulated perfectly
> or none of it is being simulated at all.

God or an advanced civilization could make an actual universe by gathering
raw material (whatever that might mean), setting starting parameters and
laws of physics, then letting it all unfold: Big Bang, planets, evolution,
the US invading Iraq, etc. Alternatively, God or an advanced civilization
could build a simulated universe on a big computer by starting with virtual
raw material, setting starting parameters and laws of physics, then clicking
"run". Is there any way from the inside of determining whether we are more
likely living in one than the other?

Stathis Papaioannou

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