The Simulation Hypothesis


I wasn't sure whether to post this here or in the 'Technology/Internet' section. I decided it should go here, because in my view the concept is, ultimately, about redemption and salvation for those who proclaim they do not believe there is anything more to reality than what we can see (i.e. materialistic atheists).

According to those who like to preach about it (ex. Nick Bostrom, Elon Musk, Neil deGrasse Tyson), our reality isn't what it appears to be. It is nothing more than a highly sophisticated computer programme, a more highly developed version of 'The Sims', but in all honesty there really isn't much actual evidence for the idea. Science is founded upon certain assumptions, philosophical beliefs that are accepted as given (ex. the reality of the past, the existence of objective reality, the belief that reality is explicable), and in order for it to even work as it does requires there be physical evidence for whatever hypothesis one wishes to test. For the Simulation Hypothesis there is at this time no evidence that could be considered to be decisive, or even convincing. The double-slit experiment, whilst intriguing, isn't definitive, because there is at least one other interpretation out there (the Copenhagen Interpretation) that could account for what is observed.

Here's how I see it. Our reality is as it appears to be, and isn't fake. The simulation idea simply raises far too many awkward questions that do not arise when one assumes our reality to be real. Applying Ockham's Razor, the notion that there is a higher level of reality above and beyond ours that is responsible for what happens in our universe is rather inelegant, and of the two explanations the belief that what we see is real involves the consideration of far fewer unjustified assumptions, and awkward questions are avoided altogether.

Questions like:

1) If we are being simulated by an intelligence beyond our reality, what is the purpose of the recreation?

2) The world of the simulator(s) - is that real, or is it fake too? If their reality is a simulation as well, then there are others who control their reality, but then the same question needs to be asked about the simulators of the simulators, and so on. An infinite regress is what one winds up with, which ultimately explains nothing.

Anyway, this is my very first "myTake", so I hope I did this right. I don't believe we are living in a simulation. That's just silly. (Note: the image below is just there because for some reason I cannot post this without one)

The Simulation Hypothesis
The Simulation Hypothesis
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  • r0ddy
    1) Elon musk answered this very well, I won't try to quote word for word but it was around the lines of "we play simulations/games in this reality because at that very moment, our reality has become unbearable for us." If you really think about it even when you play something like rock paper scissors irl, if you are fully concentrated and "in the zone" are you still really here? (I mean consciously connected to any other stimuli anymore?)

    To answer your question his belief and many others now believe that the purpose of this simulation would be to escape an unbearable reality. Many cultures used to believe we were all god's at one point and this theory would line up. We all know that life is undeniably a tragedy and that too much of a good thing makes it not good anymore. Is it so far fetched to think that our reality before this one was one where we aren't held to the same limitations and it just didn't work?

    2) I do agree this is where it gets a bit messy, but at the same time you yourself have quoted that it's not actually possible to know if life is explicable, In Which case no theory is impossible... but we'll likely never know.

    Ps enjoyed this post :)
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    • Yaaten

      Hmm... yes, I don't think I've ever come across that particular reason for why the simulators may have created our reality (i. e. to actually escape from their own). That's an interesting thought, but also a rather disturbing one as well. I mean, how bad can their reality be if it's actually worse than ours? It would also mean that there may be quite a few of us who are not as we seem, people who are actually the simulators having their fun, while the rest of us are just N. P. C.'s.

  • HungLikeAHorsefly
    Yeah, I've thought about this a lot, too. If you go back and re-read what you've written, but substitute the word "God" for "simulation"... you get religion.

    I think this is one of those interesting philosophical questions that is fun to muse about but at the end of the day has no real application to modern science. Besides, the phenomenon that gets frequently pointed to as "proof" of a simulation often also has a foothold in the Many Worlds Interpretation, which actually does have a good fit with contemporary theories in physics and computer science.
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  • Deathraider
    Also the fact that the simulation hypothesis is an unfalsifiable one. Suppose we found evidence contrary to the idea of the simulation hypothesis. Then the proponents could must argue that it’s evidence planted by the makers of the simulation or something. There’s no way to verify whether the hypothesis is true or not.
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