Simulcrud
Posted by aogMonday, 17 September 2012 at 16:50 TrackBack Ping URL

I was going to brutally snark on this article which is another in the long and tedious series of “are we in a simulation” but the first comment is so good at pithily capturing my point that I’ll just quote that —

You’re very clever young man, very clever, but it’s simulations all the way down!

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Bret Monday, 17 September 2012 at 18:33

Why would it need to be simulations all the way down?

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 17 September 2012 at 20:52

Because there is nothing to stop the recursion — the logic that applies to this, our reality, applies just as well to whatever reality in which we are being simulated.

Bret Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 09:58

There’s no reason the same logic or principles need to apply the next level. In other words, there’s no reason the entities simulating us need to also be simulated recursively.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 11:59

There’s no reason the same logic or principles need to apply the next level

And no reason to presume they don’t. Either there’s a base case in the simulation recursion, or there is not. If not, simulations all the way down. If there is a base case, why not us?

It’s just swishing the dirt around to say “well, we’re a simulation, but the next layer down isn’t”. You haven’t explained anything, you’ve just moved the problem somewhere else where it can’t be seen.

Bret Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 16:49

But they don’t think it’s simulations all they way down: “…even if we are in a simulation or many orders of magnitude down in levels of simulation, somewhere along the line something escaped the primordial ooze to become us…”

So I’m still lost as to why you’re arguing if there are any simulations it has to be all simulations (simulations all the way down)? I don’t see how that follows and neither apparently does the Nasa scientist dude.

What problem have we moved elsewhere?

And obviously it doesn’t explain anything. I didn’t think that was the point - rather it’s an interesting thought experiment. Just like an Creation explanation, we weren’t there and can’t get outside the universe, so we’ll never know one way or the other.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 19 September 2012 at 00:49

But they don’t think it’s simulations all they way down

Because they haven’t thought it through very well. Consider the next sentence

somewhere along the line something escaped the primordial ooze to become us

As you pointed out there’s no good reason to presume that even our laws of physics apply in the ur-reality, but that hasn’t occurred to them either.

why you’re arguing if there are any simulations it has to be all simulations

I am not arguing that. I am arguing that once you start with a reality being a simulation you have no logical way of stopping the recursion, leading to that result. I consider it demonstrating the pathological nature of the speculation that it has no provision or discussion of that point.

What problem have we moved elsewhere?

The origin of reality, where does our universe come from, why does it have the physical laws that it does.

obviously it doesn’t explain anything

As far as I can tell, the people in the article disagree with this assertion.

I find it a very silly and uninteresting thought experiment because it goes pathological with a few moments thought.

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