1. Critical Thinker

    Critical Thinker Senior Member

    This thread may go nowhere, but I thought it would be an interesting exercise for the CTers and debunkers to reverse roles. This would give people a better insight into the difficulty in proving anything beyond any possible doubt. Based on the movie "The Matrix" , can the CTers conclusively prove, beyond any possible doubt, that we are not in the Matrix..... and the forum's debunkers could argue for the theory that we are all in the Matrix and look for any possible holes in the other side's logic as to why we are not in the Matrix.
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  2. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    As technology advances it is inevitable that simulations of the universe will also develop.

    There's no limit to the number of simulated universes, but there can only be one real universe.

    Therefore the ratio of simulated to real universes is infinity:1

    We are in a universe, but we don't know which one, so randomly it's going to be one of a basket of the infinite number of simulated universes plus the one real one.

    Infinity-1 is still infinity.

    Therefore we are in a simulated universe.
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  3. Critical Thinker

    Critical Thinker Senior Member

    My belief is that if anything is even extremely remotely infinitesimally possible, that with time and space and multiverses being infinite ... in some place that remote possibility would have to come to pass (actually in infinitude of times, but that is a different mental exercise). The concept of the Matrix is obviously conceivable and it is my belief that it therefore is possible. I have seen nothing to convince me that we are not in the Matrix, so I am going with the assumption that we are trapped in the Matrix. :D
  4. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    But then the question is if we are entirely constructed as virtual beings, or are simple virtual avatars of a physical being who is in a vat somewhere. i.e., is it possible to exit the matrix?
  5. Critical Thinker

    Critical Thinker Senior Member

    I'd imagine that going with the Matrix scenario would offer more opportunities for debunking, whereas I could see the virtual being thread becoming a metaphysical/philosophical discussion.
  6. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    It might be provable that we're in the Matrix if we have an emergence to the next level, but we can never prove that the next level is not still of the Matrix.
    We just have to learn to live with the existential uncertainty.
  7. Critical Thinker

    Critical Thinker Senior Member

    I think that may be the plot in the next in the Matrix series....
  8. Critical Thinker

    Critical Thinker Senior Member

    Seems that debunking this idea might not be possible after all......



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  9. HappyMonday

    HappyMonday Moderator

    Head = Wrecked.
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  10. MikeC

    MikeC Senior Member

    From Critical Thinker's post:

    I'd like to know why it is that this is "the statistical likelihood".

    From the 2nd extract:

    Why is it that there are many more such simulations than real universes? It seems a circular argument.
  11. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I think it's philosophical nonsense. The probability argument is meaningless as the scope and nature of any enclosing universe (the "real" universe) is an unknown, so this might be it.
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  12. jvnk08

    jvnk08 Active Member

    Well, the universe certainly couldn't be simulated with current silicon-based computers. For every atom we simulate, we must have more atoms that represent the information of that atom and other atoms to store the logic for processing that atom, ad infinitum.

    If we're in a simulation, it's some crazy quantum computing that I couldn't even begin to fathom right now. But maybe that's what reality is, an unfathomably complex quantum computer, the atoms and subatomic particles themselves being the "bits" and "logic gates". But then again perhaps our contemporary view of computing is not even applicable.
  13. Oxymoron

    Oxymoron Banned Banned

    That's all very well CT, (sorry but have you actually considered the possible Freudian implications here; that CT could a subconscious, subtle allusion to 'Conspiracy Theorist'... ?), but I digress; just because something is 'possible', doesn't mean 'it is'.

    What do you think is the best bit of hard evidence to substantiate your assumption that we are trapped within the Matrix. Have you had any 'personal' revelations or strange happenings which are not consistent with accepted reality?
  14. Billzilla

    Billzilla Active Member

    For me it's simple ....
    The stuff that tastes good is bad for you and vice-versa, thus this must be reality.

    (Unless it's all some kind of bizarre test ...! )
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  15. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    This assumes the Matrix is fantasy fulfilment - pain frustration and suffering could be simulated too.
    Actually, suffering is always a simulation that we create. (see, the Buddha)
  16. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The matrix could of course just be simulating the individual particles in the universe, so the only way of telling would be to look at the lowest possible level, to try to find the resolution of the universe.

    lee h oswald has an interesting theory about how it's a simulation, but the other way around, there's one big blob of universal consciousness being simulated, individuals are aspects of that consciousness, and the necessary bits of the universe don't exist even in simulation but are extrapolated whenever the individual aspects need to measure them. He claimed there was proof of this via astral plane out of body communication.

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  17. Critical Thinker

    Critical Thinker Senior Member

    Lets say that within any given universe that there are at least 2 intelligent civilizations that are soooo advanced that they have been able to create a simulation of a universe. Then you would have at least 2 simulated universes per actual universe. Further on they discuss that within those simulated universes there would be simulated civilizations that would be soooo advanced that they too would create a simulated universe... this would be the case where you have a simulated universe within a simulated universe. Based on this situation you would have more simulated universes than actual universes... and since there are more simulated universes than there are actual universes, therefore odds are that any universe (actual or simulated) would be a simulated universe
  18. Oxymoron

    Oxymoron Banned Banned

    Lol.... Thought we were role reversing...sorry.

    Thirteenth Floor seems a precurser to The Matrix

  19. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    Is there any reason to assume the simulation is for anyone other than my self? Why would 'we' be in the Matrix and just not me? You are the Matrix to me.

    Anyway, here's a good video presentation on the theme of knowing reality.
  20. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    See also:

    "It is intuitively obvious" is one of my favorite quotes of all time.
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  21. Oxymoron

    Oxymoron Banned Banned

    Lol... Bomb 20 decides:

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  22. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    The Matrix scenario assumes we are connected to the primary reality but being fed the secondary, but the simulation scenario would presume that we ourselves are simulations of sentience.
    I think 'me' being a simulation of sentience is closer to the real situation - I *appear* to be primary but all my existence depends on causes beyond me, therefore I am simulated.
  23. Marcus Mudd

    Marcus Mudd Member

    exactly pete. so is this still role reversal, I reserve the right to be ambiguous because im new
  24. MikeC

    MikeC Senior Member

    See now that's where this fall apart -

    1/ who says there can be only 1 real universe?? :)

    2/ and/or if there can be an infinite number of simulated universes from 1 real universe than that real universe must itself be infinite.

    Either way there's infinity on both sides of the equation, so the "chances" are meaningless :)
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  25. Samuel Johnson would kick a stone and say: "I refute it thus".
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  26. Oxymoron

    Oxymoron Banned Banned

    If we have an infinite universe,

    Then by definition, everything must exist within it, including any simulated universes, although the simulated universes cannot be infinite as they are contained within the 'real' universe, (which is infinite/never ending).

    However, if we went with Multiverses
    , the implication is that infinity cannot exist.

    Then there is the Infinite Non Expanding Universe theory.


    Interesting that the Big Bang Theory was first expounded by a priest.
  27. MikeC

    MikeC Senior Member

    Not really - before the materialist/non-materialist kerfuffle by "modern" fundamentalists became "popular" organized religion was very much at the cutting edge of "science", Gallileo et al not withstanding 'cos "science" per se hadn't quiet been codified then.

    Newton and other early "scientists" as we would understand the term were all quite religious men too.

    It shouldn't be a surprise of course - for thousands of years religion WAS the best explanation of how the universe worked!
  28. exu156

    exu156 Member

    This is a fascinating topic. Certain schools of philosophy believe that the world as we know it is one of appearances. We do not know it as it really is; we know it only as it is represented in our consciousness. Struck by the unreliability of the senses, Descartes doubted the existence of everything but resolved that, since he was contemplating the world, the act of thinking is the one thing he could be certain of and from that the rest could be deduced. This insight was similar to that of Schopenhauer, who insisted that only our own consciousness is known immediately: everything else is mediated through our consciousness and is therefore dependent on it.

    Kant adopted the terms phenomenon and noumenon to distinguish between the thing as it appears to us and the thing as it is in itself. Thus 'phenomenon' applies to the world of appearances, the phenomena that inhabit our consciousness, and 'noumenon' describes the world that 'lies behind' the world of appearances. If we cannot know the world as it is in itself but can know it only through our perceptions, how is it that our perceptions are so uniform we can communicate with each other effectively through a shared view of the world? Kant maintained that humans' capacity to perceive the outside world and thus form representations of it depends on certain 'conditions of sensibility' that exist before the experiences themselves, notably the forms of space, time and causality. These are inbuilt forms of the human mind, and they provide the structure that allows us to receive in an intelligible way the sensory data of the outside world. They are present before experience. As a result, instead of learning the forms of space, time and causality through experience of the world, we in fact impose them on the world. This is the meaning of the often-quoted observation in the Talmud: "We do not see things as they are, but as we are."

    Now you may notice that many of these concepts have a similarity with Eastern mysticism. Schopenhauer was the first Western philosopher to appreciate the deep insights of the East, where it is said that the world as we experience it has no real being but is instead 'a ceaseless becoming'. In the Hindu Vedas the idea can be found in the doctrine of Maya, the chimera of the everyday world, 'an unstable and inconstant illusion without substance . . . a veil enveloping human consciousness'.

    As with time, so with space: both are forms that inhere not in the world itself but rather in our representations of it. Thus in the Upanishads, space is, in addition to being a property of things, the 'creator' of things, and all things are contained within space as Brahman: "Space, as it is called, is the bringer into being of name and form. That which contains them is brahman, the immortal." All phenomenal forms exist 'inside' the boundless and timeless ground. When the subject brings the form of space to the world, differentiation is created since the spatial coordinates of a thing distinguish it from another thing. In Schopenhauer's words, "only the one and identical essence can manifest itself in all those phenomena." This idea reappeared across the ancient and modern worlds, in the writings of the Platonists and the Sufis and the works of Spinoza and various Christian mystics, before Kant took it up and argued it using the rules of logic rather than just mysticism.

    In the Upanishads the idea of oneness from which all else is manifest is explicit in the idea of Brahman. The unifying or subtle essence can be interpreted as the sacred power of the whole universe—that is, the universal 'energy' that is the essence of the noumenon. It is the source of creation yet is uncreated. Thus Brahman is said to be 'self-born'. In Buddhist teaching, which is atheistic, this is captured in the notion of the 'suchness' of the world, the essential quality that infuses all things and reflects the oneness of the whole creation: "When the Ten Thousand things are viewed in their oneness, we return to the Origin and remain where we have always been."

    Aldous Huxley summarized the insight of the sages of all traditions by describing a hierarchy of the real:

    "The manifold world of our everyday experience is real with a relative reality that is, on its own level, unquestionable; but this relative reality has its being within and because of the absolute Reality, which, on account of the incommensurable otherness of its eternal nature, we can never hope to describe, even though it is possible for us directly to apprehend it."

    Apologies for the overly long post.
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  29. "They"

    "They" New Member

    I agree and disagree with your post. Since we are both here discussing this, we could both be in The Matrix.
    If it is just me, I do gotta say in the words of Doug Quaid from Total Recall "If it is my delusion, who the hell invited you?" :p
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  30. Inti

    Inti Active Member

    Nick Bostrom who originated the serious version of the argument in his paper “Are you living in a Computer simulation” .http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html has acknowledged one possible objection to his scenario as he framed it: In this podcast, for instance http://philosophybites.com/2011/08/nick-bostrom-on-the-simulation-argument.html); if John Searle, or other critics of the computational theory of mind (Raymond Tallis, Roger Penrose, Mark Bishop etc). are right, the idea that we could be inside a computer based simulation is "debunked", because computation as it is normally understood (algorithmic manipulation of digital symbolic representing data) cannot be a sufficient cause of consciousness.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that a machine-based simulation is impossible, as these critics happily agree (as far as I know, they are all convinced naturalists, so they believe that the human brain is an evolved machine giving rise to consciousness; they just argue that it is a qualitatively different type of machine to a digital computer in a very fundamental way.

    Statistically, it seems that computer people are more likely to reject Sear;e and the other anti-computationalists, while biologically-based neuroscientists are more prone to be broadly sympathetic. So my guess would be that Mick may not accept Searle type “debunking” of computationalism. However, I might be wrong: I was surprised to find Aaron Swarz arguing strongly in favour of Searle in his blog, for instance. http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/searle

    I’ve thought about bring this topic up on Metabunk, but I’m not sure that either side of the pro- or anti-computationalist debate are really pushing bunk, whoever is right; it’s a serious philosophical or scientific debate on both side, and perhaps not really what Metabunk is for.
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  31. Amgbmwlover

    Amgbmwlover New Member

    The simulation idea is a great arguement!

    This article finally seems to lay to rest the idea that we're in a computer.


    Of course, the typical form of the argument isn’t nearly so cogent. In popular outlets as prestigious as the New York Times, Scientific American and the New Yorker, the idea is simply presented as “We are living in a simulation.” The only major outlet I could find that properly presented Bostrom’s disjunction was PBS. Indeed, there are now some Silicon Valley billionaires who believe the argument, or at least think it merits enough attention to be worth funding research into how we might escape the simulation we are in. (Frankly, even if we were inside a simulation, it’s not clear that “escaping” would be something worthwhile or even possible.)

    Yet most people, when presented with this idea, think it is profoundly silly and a waste of time.

    I believe this is the correct response. I am 99.9% sure we are not living in a simulation.

    But it’s one thing to know that an argument is wrong, and quite another to actually show why; in that respect the Simulation Argument is a lot like theOntological Argument for God:

    Worth a read to finally lay to rest the idea.