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Are we living in a simulation?

BurnedOut

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I engaged in a fierce debate regarding this yesterday. My friend was 'for' towards it and I was 'against'

I was able to logically trap him in one of his arguments. These were my arguments.

Before I begin, let me elaborate a bit on what consciousness in this context means -
1) Two beings in two planes having the same level of consciousness means that they are equivalent.
2) Intelligence always evolves with time given that circumstances don't deteriorate in the future.
3) Intelligence is a flashlight of the consciousness. The brighter it is, the more you can perceive.
4) Therefore, there is a theoretical possibility that Gods and Humans are alike with Gods just having more physical capability and intelligence. Humans will get there soon enough. (Because the arguments of simulation always require an omniscient being)

Why are we not in a simulation?
1) If an organism/group of organisms create a simulation with AIs so intelligent that they become sentient and start metathinking, the AIs will certainly figure out that they are living in an environment that works on cause and effect but will suspect the existence of a god if events don't seemingly add up. They will try to investigate and it is possible that they figure out that they are being controlled by someone else. Even if their intelligence does not add up with the higher order organisms, it is sufficient to say that they are equivalent to the higher order organisms regarding their consciousness because they are now sentient enough to create their own simulations as their intelligence will evolve anyway given that the higher level organisms do not interfere too much. (Although this is an irrational argument, bear me for a while)

If simulations become capable of creating simulations, then there is no simulation at all - all the beings in the simulation exist parallely and in a single plane.

2) Sentience is proof of existence of randomness. Creating a simulation with sentient beings beats the concept of randomness and this is a paradox - One cannot have free will in an environment where everything can be controlled. Therefore creating a simulation with sentience is akin to making a parallel civilization. This means that Gods and us are equivalent. He may have made us but he cannot control us (I mean us, not the environment) and therefore, there is no more difference between god and man as there is between superman and man.

3) The world is random because everything cannot be observed. Since the universe is expanding, randomness prevails. The things we observe are pseudopatterns. The magnitude of the universe can understably create a pseudopattern to accommodate the evolution of an entire civilization. It still exists in the form of sentience wherein the inherent unpredictability of the man disallows the universe from being determined and observable entirely. It can be observed through statistics but those pseudopatterns may constitute a pattern for us but are completely random from the perspective of the universe.

Therefore if we are a simulation, then the gods cannot observe patterns until they look for it and after they find it, they cannot accurately predict the next one. This means that we are subordinate to them only in terms of strength but not in terms of consciousness. Therefore, we exist on a similar plane.

4) Since randomness is only concerned with the ability of its to elude determination of itself, it does not mean that randomness can be spontaneously generated out of materials that are so random that their interactions are entirely unpredictable. This means that the constitution of materials warrant the existence of causality to constitute them as materials in the first place. If the materials constituting randomness do not have relations between them, it is impossible for randomness itself to prevail. This means that causality exists but it does not mean that causality is a proof of determinism. If causality itself is determined, then it is not causality because there is no scope of interaction and effective method of causing randomness to prevail. If causality is determined, determination is also determined and this leads to a loop with the sordid question - "Who determined it?" because determining is again a function of sentience, a byproduct of randomness. Therefore if there is any kind of determination, it is nothing but a pseudopattern.

Therefore, we are not a simulation.


[Addendum 1]
Any prudent reader will point out that if causality guards the behaviour of materials, it ultimately proves that there is determinism which can be explained by figuring out the functioning of the environment. If I were to honestly asked to choose a side, I would choose randomness despite still admitting that the supra mentioned argument is in no manner invalid. Reducing this debate to the level of determining whether I believe in randomness or in determinism kills the debate too quickly because in most cases, neither of the sides would attempt to argue than throw ad hominems at each other for being 'idiotic'.

Before, I throw my hands up in the air and proclaim that I am a randomist, I will state these things which I believe are quite significant to consider.

Determinism is essentially each pseudopattern. If pseudopattern is termed as a product of determinism then we are calling the pseudopattern a pattern which reflects the functioning of a larger coherent being. However, I am simply saying that each pseudopattern brings forth conditions of determinism. This means that I am deriving determinism out of randomness (pseudopattern) than using determinism to postulate a pseudopattern. Therefore, determinism is basically an ephemeral pseudopredictable situation.

That being said, causality is a form of determinism. But simply claiming this throws the whole debate into the trashcan.

What I am saying is that causality influences randomness (not really influence but let us say creates a bigger or smaller playing ground for randomness) which in turn influences causality. This means that matter will behave predictably on a macroscale but unpredictably on a microscale (Thanks to quantum physics' metaphysics debates for this one).

What does this mean?

Randomness ends up resizing its playing ground due to its own caprice. When this playground is relatively smaller than the previous one, there is more predictability on the macroscale and when its larger, lower amounts of predictability.

To further this debate, I will also go ahead and claim that randomness is also dependent on the loci from where its measured. This loci when taken from the pattern which for no reason keeps getting engendered (Imagine the largest value at any non-zero level in Pascal triangle. eg. 1 3 1 (Consider 3)), the predictability from this loci is quite large. Take it from a loci at a smaller level, it is very low. This means that causality is a function of these level-dependent loci. This means that matter behaves predictably and unpredictably depending on the loci it is put in. This means that causality is ultimately relative but it has a definite existence which is maintained by the whims of randomness itself. It sounds paradoxical but it is not. Causality is immortal for no reason.

However, let us not forget causality is a function of environment and matter itself too. Simply because causality exists (for no reason), it does not mean that it cannot influence the environment and matter to manifest in different ways.

Now consider this, causality is a definite pseudopattern because it causes predictable behaviour in matter who behave unpredictably at different levels and maintain the conditions of randomness. Thus proving that causality is random too.

[Addendum 2]
Can I prove the nonexistence of god by this debate? I can prove that he is at most a superman, not an omniscient entity.

Let us try to understand god in this context. God is ultimately portrayed as 'enforcer of causality'. He seeks to bring uniformity and eliminate duality or any nonuniform variants. There is good and there is evil. God can be good or evil. He wants to impose of the situations on the environment. If he succeeds (which he has not) then humans will regress backwards and probably to the state of completely falling out of a higher level pseudopattern and turning completely random. I want you to take a while and process this by imagining how the elimination of good or evil will degenerate humanity and everything due to the elimination of a large chunk of randomness and variability in the universe. However, this is not happening. Since evil and goodness have been coexisting peacefully without any gigantic proportions of interference which would have wiped one of them out, it simply proves that god cannot control the fate and destiny of mankind as a whole. He can manipulate certain events but those events cannot lead to the ultimate desired outcome - enforce uniformity. If he manipulates without really knowing what will happen far far ahead in the future, then his action is likely to be random than omniscient.
Therefore, this kind of god is not god (good v. evil kind).

Then there is another kind of god (simply omniscient regardless of good and evil). Arguments for the existence of this kind of god are quite simple - he has made causality (by writing the laws of functioning of the pseudopattern). However this kind of god cannot enforce causality because causality is abstract in nature. This kind of god cannot enforce abstract things for arbitrary purposes. Ultimately, simply having the power to manipulate events does not mean that manipulation is bound to occur in a studied fashion. Therefore, it is not even possible to know if this god is sentient in the first place or if he is simply symbolic for the determinism that exists in a persisting pseudopattern.


[Addendum 3]
I keep mentioning 'persisting pseudopattern'. This can cause a connotation along the lines of 'never-changing pseudopattern'. I want to say that you can think of Ship of Theseus here. Then it is a matter of subjectivity - whether you want to believe that the 'essence' stays (in this case the magnitude of predictability) or does not (pseudopatterns only existing in snapshots due to randomness (I have explained about how causality affects the pseudopattern)).

[Addendum 4]
God except in the context of Addendum 2 means the higher order organism who's concocted the lower-order organism ((apparent) simulation)
 

Cognisant

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1) If an organism/group of organisms create a simulation with AIs so intelligent that they become sentient and start metathinking, the AIs will certainly figure out that they are living in an environment that works on cause and effect but will suspect the existence of a god if events don't seemingly add up. They will try to investigate and it is possible that they figure out that they are being controlled by someone else. Even if their intelligence does not add up with the higher order organisms, it is sufficient to say that they are equivalent to the higher order organisms regarding their consciousness because they are now sentient enough to create their own simulations as their intelligence will evolve anyway given that the higher level organisms do not interfere too much. (Although this is an irrational argument, bear me for a while)

If simulations become capable of creating simulations, then there is no simulation at all - all the beings in the simulation exist parallely and in a single plane.
Subatomic physics is profoundly unintuitive but that doesn't make me suspect the existence of a god rather this is simply the nature of research, every question solved opens avenues to new questions which we're stuck on until we figure out how to solve them. Your argument is essentially the god of the gaps fallacy that any gap in our knowledge is proof of or at least allows for the assumption of god's existence, it goes something like this:
"How do magnets work?"
"I don't know."
"HA you see? Irrefutable proof that wizards exist!"
"...what?"
"You can't explain it so obviously a wizard did it, it's the only reasonable explanation!"
"That's not reasonable at all."
"How so?"
"Because it's really a plot by the lizard people to make you think they don't exist."
"You just made that up."
"You see! You see! That's exactly what I'm talking about! They've fooled you into thinking they don't exist."

No, hiding the fact that it's being simulated from a simulated mind would be trivial, it's impossible to out-think someone who can (from your perspective) literally freeze time and read your mind like an open book and make changes as they please and set a script to give you amnesia whenever the thought "reality is simulated" crosses your mind. Indeed you wouldn't have to do any of that because without a frame of reference outside the simulation it's absolutely impossible for someone to prove they're in a simulation, it's like trying to prove whether or not the universe is inside an infinitely large cardboard box. Even if you can see the walls of the box somehow how do you know it's a box, that might just be what the edge of the universe looks like, that might just be how physics works for no reason other than chance.

How does that change anything, we've already created simulations within simulations.

I skimmed the rest and none of that really makes any sense, whether or not reality as we know it could be a simulation is not a theological discussion but to you it is because your mind is warped by religious assumptions, good luck sorting that mess out.
 

BurnedOut

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Subatomic physics is profoundly unintuitive but that doesn't make me suspect the existence of a god rather this is simply the nature of research, every question solved opens avenues to new questions which we're stuck on until we figure out how to solve them. Your argument is essentially the god of the gaps fallacy that any gap in our knowledge is proof of or at least allows for the assumption of god's existence, it goes something like this:
This should have been obvious but I will mention it anyway. You mistook the context for being a religious one. Here, god = higher order organism. Any gaps in the knowledge does not necessarily begin the search for the organism who's made us. In our case, it is pondering upon the metaphysics of physics laws themselves. The emergence of quantum physics reopens the questions.

Moreover, in the context of a simulation, the god's existence in the theory makes sense because there is an organism (god) who makes a simulation.
"How do magnets work?"
"I don't know."
"HA you see? Irrefutable proof that wizards exist!"
"...what?"
"You can't explain it so obviously a wizard did it, it's the only reasonable explanation!"
"That's not reasonable at all."
"How so?"
"Because it's really a plot by the lizard people to make you think they don't exist."
"You just made that up."
"You see! You see! That's exactly what I'm talking about! They've fooled you into thinking they don't exist."
I am sure that what I have wrote is impossible to be reduced to the argument of atheism vs theism. Because it is not the crux of this essay anyway.

No, hiding the fact that it's being simulated from a simulated mind would be trivial, it's impossible to out-think someone who can (from your perspective) literally freeze time and read your mind like an open book and make changes as they please and set a script to give you amnesia whenever the thought "reality is simulated" crosses your mind. Indeed you wouldn't have to do any of that because without a frame of reference outside the simulation it's absolutely impossible for someone to prove they're in a simulation, it's like trying to prove whether or not the universe is inside an infinitely large cardboard box. Even if you can see the walls of the box somehow how do you know it's a box, that might just be what the edge of the universe looks like, that might just be how physics works for no reason other than chance.
Precisely my point. Even the maker of the simulation has to 'read the mind like an open book' because the maker himself cannot figure out what the sentient organism is up to. This, therefore, makes the maker only physically superior. His consciousness is equivalent to the organism that he's made. He's only given birth to a child/children without copulation.

This is why it is impossible for a god to exist. However, the existence of god and its basis on this theory was an addendum and not the central topic.
How does that change anything, we've already created simulations within simulations.
Those are not sentient. And if there is any kind of randomness in it, the random is a product of pseudorandom number generators. Therefore, they are really deterministic if one tries to use enough computing power to find that particular random seed.

I skimmed the rest and none of that really makes any sense, whether or not reality as we know it could be a simulation is not a theological discussion but to you it is because your mind is warped by religious assumptions, good luck sorting that mess out.
I am sorry to tell you that you did not grasp the theory at all.
 

Cognisant

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Alright lets make this simple.

You're trying to prove a metaphysical concept false which is logically impossible because metaphysics has no basis on reality, that's what makes it meta-physics, essentially you're trying to prove a negative.

Edit: I'm not defending the religious god here, you have a concept which you have labelled god which you're trying to prove something about which I'm explaining that you can't do because that concept is rooted in metaphysics and there's no meaningful discussion to be had about metaphysics.

Even if the definition of god we're working with is internally inconsistent it's only inconsistent with regards to reality as we know it, once we start talking about universes outside our own and our universe being simulated there is no longer any basis on which to make assumptions.

I'm a militant atheist, I would love to prove god (edit: the religious one) doesn't exist but I cannot deny the existence of a metaphysical god even if the definition of that god is internally inconsistent because metaphysics is completely unbounded, we might actually be the insane dream had by a bowl of spaghetti which is able to have dreams because cognition works differently in this hypothetical universe that is in no way bound by the rules we're accustomed to.

Of course when there's no rules all theories are equally valid, and equally stupid.

But you're trying to make sense of it and that's hilarious, like for example you think sentience matters for some reason as if, god forbid, it's just chemistry and physics and nothing magical. And if sentience exists therefore some fundamental degree of uncertainty must exist because if it didn't our causal reality would be utterly deterministic and that's just terrible because then we wouldn't have FREE WILL which is essential because god needs to be able to judge our moral virtue or something.

Edit: You're trying to have a meaningful discussion about metaphysics because you're still stuck in the paradigm where metaphysical concepts actually have meaning.

No, hiding the fact that it's being simulated from a simulated mind would be trivial, it's impossible to out-think someone who can (from your perspective) literally freeze time and read your mind like an open book and make changes as they please and set a script to give you amnesia whenever the thought "reality is simulated" crosses your mind.
This part was me getting caught up on the assumption that we're talking about computer simulations, I corrected myself in the rest of the paragraph, but can you see how my assumptions got in the way of my thinking?

Those are not sentient. And if there is any kind of randomness in it, the random is a product of pseudorandom number generators. Therefore, they are really deterministic if one tries to use enough computing power to find that particular random seed.
Why does sentience matter? Why does sentience need free will?
What even is free will for that matter? C'mon man you're so close.
 

Animekitty

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You do not need to simulate the entire universe. We can predict the trajectory of the earth billions of years into the past and future. All that is needed are constants and laws. Constants are stable anchor points in which measurements and projections can be made. Records of the past mean some things definitely happened and others did not. Constraints limit what is necessary to simulate. Of course, the universe came first. I am talking about a simulation some 50 years from now.

All the information is there working backward. Constants and constraints.

I agree that the universe is not simulated. It doesn't have to be.
 

redbaron

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and what a simulation it is, to be sure!
 

Daddy

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Your mom is my simulation.
And ya Daddy too.
 

BurnedOut

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Alright lets make this simple.

You're trying to prove a metaphysical concept false which is logically impossible because metaphysics has no basis on reality, that's what makes it meta-physics, essentially you're trying to prove a negative.
I am not debating on metaphysics here. I am trying to prove that randomness is real by disproving assumptions and beliefs that are contrary to what I am saying. This is a normal mode of debating wherein one proves his theory by showing that the opposing ones are invalid. Of course, the other method is to prove the validity of the theory by not disproving the ones against it. But it is a matter of convenience and aptness and I believe that the mode I am using does not make my theory any less valid.

Secondly, the purpose of an explanation which supports a conclusion cannot entertain paradoxes. If were to close my essay by saying that randomness and causality are two unique elements then the theory becomes invalid.

On the surface what I have written is deceptively metaphysical but in reality it is a debate which seeks to prove the existence of randomness than discuss on how it came to be. If this was a metaphysical essay then I won't be heeding a conclusion.
I'm not defending the religious god here, you have a concept which you have labelled god which you're trying to prove something about which I'm explaining that you can't do because that concept is rooted in metaphysics and there's no meaningful discussion to be had about metaphysics.
The concept is rooted in metaphysics, sure. But here it is nothing but an eliminated argument by the process of converging through deduction.

Even if the definition of god we're working with is internally inconsistent it's only inconsistent with regards to reality as we know it, once we start talking about universes outside our own and our universe being simulated there is no longer any basis on which to make assumptions.
You are right. This is what I sought to prove by the theory I wrote. However, like I said, I did not stick to one side very quickly because that would have killed the debate much sooner. It would be a pointless exercise if I don't discuss what my justifications. That is why I wrote in length.

I'm a militant atheist, I would love to prove god (edit: the religious one) doesn't exist but I cannot deny the existence of a metaphysical god even if the definition of that god is internally inconsistent because metaphysics is completely unbounded, we might actually be the insane dream had by a bowl of spaghetti which is able to have dreams because cognition works differently in this hypothetical universe that is in no way bound by the rules we're accustomed to.
You have grasped what I have written but you are having trouble understanding the purpose and the logical flow it has which is structured. Read the first counterargument of this reply.

But you're trying to make sense of it and that's hilarious, like for example you think sentience matters for some reason as if, god forbid, it's just chemistry and physics and nothing magical. And if sentience exists therefore some fundamental degree of uncertainty must exist because if it didn't our causal reality would be utterly deterministic and that's just terrible because then we wouldn't have FREE WILL which is essential because god needs to be able to judge our moral virtue or something.
I used sentience as a basis because it is a synthesis of the elements of this essay - pseudopattern and randomness. Think of it in this way and this problem that you see will be resolved.
 
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