On Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 9:51 AM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 10:01 PM, rexallen...@gmail.com
> <rexallen...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> What would make universes with honest initial conditions + causal laws
>> more probable than deceptive ones?  For every honest universe it would
>> seem possible to have an infinite number of deceptive universes that
>> are the equivalent of "The Matrix" - they give rise to conscious
>> entities who have convincing but incorrect beliefs about how their
>> universe really is.  These entities' beliefs are based on perceptions
>> that are only illusions, or simulations (naturally occurring or
>> intelligently designed), or hallucinations, or dreams.
> One reason might be that for life to evolve, and therefore lead to conscious
> observers, the process of life must be able to "learn" true or approximately
> true laws of physics.  While true there are more possible ways to imagine
> yourself being in some simulated or dream-like environment, consider the
> possibilities that get you there.  In a universe without evolution the
> initial condition must be that sophisticated reality generating environment,
> of which there are very few.

Why do you say there are very few?  Again, it seems to me that for any
"honest" universe, there would be an infinite number of "deceptive"
universes that mimic it's appearance.  Unless you have some reason to
exclude universes like I described in my response to Brent.

> However in a universe with evolution, the
> initial condition can be a more or less random arrangement of particles, for
> which there are far more possibilities.


Evolution doesn't add anything.  It's all in the initial conditions
and causal laws.  In a determinisitic universe, things can only happen
one way.  Evolution is just a label that we put on the way that they
appear to have happened in our universe.

Evolution is a description, not an explanation.


Your statement is only true if our causal laws are such that any
random starting conditions lead to conscious life.

But there all that you've done is moved the "specialness" from the
initial conditions to the causal laws.  You are claiming that our
universe has a "special" set of causal laws that can start with nearly
any random arrangement of matter and end up with conscious life that
will be able to perceive true things about their universe.

A good analogy would be the quicksort algorithm, which can start with
any randomly arranged list and always produce a sorted list from it.

BUT, the quicksort algorithm is special.  If you just randomly
generate programs and try to run them, the probability of getting one
that will correctly sort any unordered list must be very low compared
to the probability of getting a program that won't do anything useful
at all, or sorts the list incorrectly, or sorts it very inefficiently.

Equivalently, if you just randomly chose sets of causal laws, the
probability of selecting a set of laws that can start from almost any
random arrangement of matter and from that always produce conscious
life that perceives true things about the laws that gave rise to it
must also be very low.


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