Are we real?

I wrote an article on the simulation argument which puts forward the view that we’re living inside a computer and that we may indeed have a God/creator. The article explores various elements of astrophysics, life and xenobiology, history of computing, gaming and looks at various thought experiments such as "brain in a vat".

Read the article.

69 thoughts on “Are we real?

  1. Is there a God? YES. Did God create all things, including human beings? YES. This has nothing to do with us supposedly living in any sort of simulated reality. We didn’t create anything we see around us. God did. All we really do apart from God is covet what other people have, steal from others, kill others, and destroy others’ lives. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s because we are all born into sin, and we cannot work it all out on our own. This whole thing about "are we real?" is just plain pointless. WHY? Because all we have to do is look in the mirror, and we should be able to tell by what we see in the mirror that we are indeed real, flesh and blood human beings. But that’s not all we are. We are FIRST spiritual beings that God created in His image and likeness, which means that God created us to look the way we look because that’s how God wanted us to look. That’s not to say that God creates people to be lazy and uncaring people that don’t care about their state of health and well-being to the point that they become overweight. That sort of thing happens in part because of peoples’ laziness, but also in part of genetics.

  2. People, before this turns into an assassination plan of the Pope, please accept other people’s views and beliefs. If we’re going to get on, accept their views even if you don’t think they’re right. When people don’t, wars start.

    Oh, Cow – you money grabbing git .

  3. I think Graphicartist2k5 makes a really irrelevant argument, but his mention of a mirror will be a great launching point. Simply put, all of that stuff has been said before but in a different manner.

    Lets start with the Bible. 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13: "At the present we see indistinctly as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known." Trippy stuff for Paul. Still, it’s cool to see the goofy Roman acknowledging both his own ignorance and the greater belief in Heaven as a sort of Enlightenment or Understanding (knowing fully, etc). The point, aimed mostly at Graphicartist2k5, is that one of the philosophical foundations of the Bible is that looking in the mirror should not be considered what you really are at all. I’d quote the story of Job, but it’s a bit long winded to say the same thing.

    But Hey, I’m no Bible-Humper so lets look at some other mythologies. Hinduism? The Universe is the dream of a guy who sleeps on a flower petal which originates from the belly button of an elephant looking thing. It only lasts a second, but to us it seems like eternity. In that way, we are merely the fantasy of giant God who hasn’t the slightest concern. Plato’s cave? Folks, we’re not even looking at puppets, we’re looking at the shadows of them. And God forbid you go into the light, because everyone back in the cave will think you’re a freak.

    The point is, in one form or another, people throughout the ages have stipulated that our existence is an illusion masking a greater reality. Stephen Hawkings wrote a great essay about how it was essential to our evolution to only be able to perceive three dimensions of space lest we never exceed the role of amoebas. We literally genetically blinded ourselves for a greater purpose. Acting as if the Wachowski Brothers did anything except propose yet another manifestation of this idea is a bit irresponsible.

    Oh, I guess just to poke at the actual question of whether we’re in a machine or not, the reason I can’t prove that we aren’t in a machine is the same reason that you can’t prove that we are. While I’m at it, go read Joseph Campbell and free yourself of this nonsense.

  4. How do you come to the initial conclusion that one of those three arguments most be true.  This is not a questioning of your logic, but I am a philosophy major and have not heard of those three points as having to have to have one as true.  Comment on my blog or email me and let me know.

  5. The only point I was making was that the whole "What if we’re all inside a simulated reality?" question has been asked since the Dawn of Civilization. The goal wasn’t to prove any particular argument as correct, it was to point out that there are numerous variations of the question and acting as if ‘The Matrix’ is some kind of massive breakthrough seems a bit ridiculous. All of the arguments I outlined have convincing logic, just as the simulated reality one does, but like I said at the end. They, like God, can’t really be proven or disproven. 

  6. From what i got from that article, it was just saying that one can rule out the entire possibility of our reality being false. But on that note one cannot truly dissprove anything. ie: Flying spagettii monster, or invisible pink unicorn. The only problem is one cannot logically procede foreward with that assumption, without any kind of real proof.

  7. humans cannot be an energy source..we use energy to generate that heat, taking a substantial portion off the top for our own life needs, we do not create it. Get a grip eh? The sun is the ultimate energy source for this planet..with a littel residual geothermal heat…plants are secondary “storers” of this energy…we are just consumers…why would the computers want other life competing for energy. the premise makes no sense.

  8. Descartes, “I think, therefore I am.” has been refuted by many philosophers, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries. Most of them want to say that the consciousness that delcares “I am.” is not actually the consciousness that thinks. Descartes has confused spontaneous doubt, which is a consciousness, with methodological doubt, which is an act of doing. In this, he has skipped over what could be percieved as the larger part of percived reality.

    While this doesn’t put a hole in the absurd idea of our “selves” being but a simulation, it does put a few holes in the analysis of it.

  9. An interesting article for sure. My problem is that it uses pseudoscience to reinforce your argument. There are multiple references to probability and statistics without any supporting data or math. Even if it is probable that multiple universes exist within simulations and that it is more probable to live within one of these simulations than within a “real” universe there is nothing that shows we are not part of the minority in reality.

    Please provide data and mathematical backing for your statements.

  10. Very interesting.  I really think we can take it a step further into this frame of mind.  If we are able to do the same simulation that has been posed upon us, what does that mean?  I am bookmarking this blog and hope to see more of this type of writing.

  11. Hi there! Interesting article. I too do not get why one of the three have to be true. You assume that the human brain can be simulated by a computer – given that you have enough computing power. I am not a religeous person, but I still have no reason to believe that our minds are simple state-machines. Remember that even though computers were a million-trillion times faster, they would still be equivalent to turing machines and thus you can sit down and run the whole simulation using nothing more than pen and paper (well, quite a few pens and quite a bit of paper). Is it possible to simulate the human mind (or the entire universe) using pen and paper?

    I have thought up an argument as to why we are _not_ living in a simulated universe. It’s probably not fool proof, but I like it’s weird argumentation:

    1. A computer simulation is nothing more than a mathematical model.
    2. Imagine a running simulation. You may pause the simulation for a milion years before simulating the next step – the next step will still be the same.
    3. In fact the next step _exists_ even though the computer does not simulate it.
    4. Thus a simulation is nothing more than execution of a mathematical model which exists no matter if we run the simulation or not.
    5. If you pause a simulation and make changes to the simulated world before continuing the simulation, you are simply switching your view to another mathematical model.
    6. Consider the amounts of _all_ possible simulated worlds.
    7. For each universe that obeys certain rules and kind of makes sense (like our universe) – there is a hugely infinite number of universes where these rules are invalidated – corresponding to simulations being stopped and random stuff being changed or ‘inserted’ into the model. E.g. a universe like ours where suddenly rubber chickes start falling from the sky.
    8. This hugely huge infinite number of weird simulation executions exist whether you simulate them or not.
    9. The odds that we live in a simulated world where chaos does not suddenly errupt and rubber chickens start falling from the sky is infinately small – there are just so infinitely many more simulations where something like this would occur.
    10. Well, rubber chickens are not falling from the sky (in my part of the universe anyhow). The probability that we are living in an ‘ordered’ and ‘nice’ simulation out of infinitely many more chaotic ones is insignificant. Thus we are most likely _not_ living in a simulaiton.

     

    The only counter-argument that I can come up with is:

    Consider a simulated universe where random stuff like the insertion of a million trillion rubber chicken occur – this would create some kind of chaos – and many of these universes would probably cease to sustain life. The fact that you are alive to consider this in this very moment (I assume that while reading this you are not being hit by falling rubber chicken or becoming engulfed in watermelon  jell-o) may just mean that we are living (agains all odds) in a simulation where chaos haven’t errupted _yet_ (since if it had – you would probably not be having these considerations)! Fair enough. Well, the odds are still very, very close to zero that the next step in the simulation will not include random chaos – consider the amount of things you could possibly change if the world stood still for a while and you had a divine world-editor to change things. What I am trying to say is that _you_ having these considerations (in a reasonably nice universe) implies that chaos have not errupted yet – but if we are living in a simulation the odds are that it will errupt in the very next time-frame! 

    The longer you keep observing the universe without rubber chickens falling from the sky, the more unlikely it becomes that we are living in a simulated universe. 

    Do I make sense?? Probably not… 🙂

    I would very much like comments on the argument! 

  12. Great article. I see how you are able to come to the conclusion that technological mature civilizations are willing to run computer simulations of life, the third point is somewhat less…eh obvious, to me.

    Assuming that there is or will be a race running a simulation of life; assuming that there is a simulation within a simulation, what is the master race? The race starting this never ending cycle of simulations running simulations. And, why aren’t we that "master race"?

    It could be that a God-entity is the master being, running a simulation, which ends up running simulations which is of course fun and perhaps improbable.

    And, to blow further mind, what if, in a Matrix scenario, the people in a simulation would discover reality and realize that their master race is nothing more than puppets in their own simulation.

    I’m getting nowhere with this, but it’s sometimes fun to think out loud. 😛 

  13. "Are we real?" is an irrelevant question that can never be answered. It is in the same category as Determinism, Religion, and other things that only exist outside of the observable universe. That is, they can never be confirmed or denied from within the system (our Universe).

    For example, whether our fates are predetermined or left to choice/chance, makes no difference. We cannot go outside the system to verify any hypothesis.

  14. After a deep discussion about Descartes’ infamous quote with friends, our conclusion was:
    I _think_ that I am thinking, therefore I could be.

    With the possibility of other sources controlling our thoughts, or even creating them (as in a simulation-type environment), one’s perception of having thoughts does not prove one’s existence. It merely aids in the discussion. In today’s world, Descartes’ “thought” must now be defined further. If one is AWARE of a “thought”, does that prove existence?

    Computer technology and, of course, future technologies that are currently not in our scope of thinking, may confuse this issue even further.

  15. The simulation argument says that if we take the previous two points to be false – the third is true.

    This premise is flawed, as I will explain below. 

    Therefore, if we believe that there are technologically advanced civilizations out there with the technology to run a simulation of life, and that those civilizations are interested in running a simulation, we will almost definitely be living in a simulation.

    This statement is false logic.  The conclusion does not follow directly from the two preceding statements.  A more reasonable conclusion could read: if we believe that there are technologically advanced…are interested in running a simulation, there is a high probability that some civilization is running a simulation of life.  There is nothing in your argument to allude that we may be living in a simulation besides the absence of a statement to the contrary.  Your argument is akin to saying: if there are people who like to eat garbage and those people are interested in eating garbage, I am almost definitely eating garbage.  (Note: Regardless of the true boolean value of the conclusion, the logic leading to it is false.)

     

     

  16. This is all really interesting stuff to me. I haven’t got time at the moment to get into details, but I wanted to quickly remark on how the paradox of Schrodinger’s cat seems to add to the discussion of wether or not we are in a simulated reality. Additionally, imagining reality as described in "imagining the tenth dimension" would accomidate Schrodinger’s cat as well as simulated worlds.

    I’ll be back to continue the discussion. Until then I invite you to follow up with these two sites:

    http://www.tenthdimension.com/

    http://www.phobe.com/s_cat/s_cat.html

  17. Good thoughts and thank you for thinking them. 

    Or shall I thank the creatures that are making you think them?  And while I’m at it, I’d also like to thank the creatures that made the creatures, etc.

    But I digress.  Sorry.  

    Lets talk about point number one of your simulation argument:

    You write: "The chances that a species at our current level of development can avoid going extinct before becoming technologically mature is negligibly small."

    Are we technologically mature? 

    For my money, not even close.

    Assume that we are living in a computer simulation.  Let us call the civilization that created our computer simulation "X."  Are we close to being X?  No, despite the fact that our knowledge doubles ever three years. Or is it five?  

    We will ever get to X?

    Who knows?  There is, however, a fine chance that between our present development and that of becoming X that we will self-destruct.  

    Another part of your simulation argument is that no civilization exists like ours, ergo — those civilization must have destroyed themselves.  

    This is a bold notion, however, simply because you can’t get a date, doesn’t mean there are no other people.  For example, if you are living by yourself on an island, you will probably spend most Saturday nights alone.

    Humankind dwells on a distant island and the fact that no one has contacted us (we don’t have the technology to contact them and get an answer) — could indicate that other civilizations may indeed by intelligent.

    In short —

    We are not technological mature — especially if we use the yardstick that a technologically mature civilization could create a virtual world like we live in.

    The fact we have not found other civilizations speaks more to our primitive technology and perhaps the fact that those other civilizations don’t want to chat with us.

    Could you be correct with all three of your assumptions?  Sure.  

    Shakespeare said:  "We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep."

    Maybe he was dreaming he was a Buddhist.  

    You have two other points in your core argument.  The problem is your logic relies on your first point being false.  False statements are super tricky (make that impossible) to prove or disprove if we are dealing in an infinite arena.      

  18. If v did live in a simulation, then when a person dies/gets killed – shouldn’t his body dissappear from the simulation/matrix. If ure mind controls ure simulated self then…. No mind= no body in death. But v c corpses.

  19. In a reply to ricks comment about descartes quote, I’m not actually sure how this realtes to the article as the article was "Are we real" in which of course descartes " I think therefore I am" still applies, yes If you are even aware of your thoughts then you exist. You must exist either physically or mentally for you to be at least aware of your thoughts.

  20. Listen, just because someone thinks of an idea and can produce theories on proving how it could actually be real – doesn’t make it actually a part of reality. Just because one thinks this and that could happen or is what we’re living in (e.g. a computer simulation) doesn’t mean that its actually true. I hate it when people do this. Kinda the same on wishing or praying for something good to happen to you, it just isn’t gonna happen.

    But I’ll still say it was an interesting read.

  21. A quick reply to Bruce:

     I think you’re way off here. If one can provide sound proof to a hypothesis, then it is true. I read what you’re saying here and I think: "Regardless of us being able to prove laws of motion, motion is not a part of reality."

    Well that simply sounds wrong. We could go into details and define reality or continue to engage in the above "brain in a vat" discussions. However, I believe my point is clear enough.

  22. I liked your comment, Morten Bek. Because I was thinking the same thing after I read about this simulation argument a couple of years ago. I wrote down my latest version of my counterargument to the simulation argument, which goes into mathematical existence and mentions quantum mechanics and Bayes’ theorem, but I can’t cut and paste it here. See my blog post at my blog Return of the Sasquatch.

  23. Hi, I’m a blogger from China.

    I love your post "Are we real?" so much! I’m trying to translate it into Chinese so that your good ideas can be shared with my Chinese friends.

    I want to get your permission before I do it. I would post the translation of your post on my personal blog with a clear statement about who the original author is and where people can find your oringinal post. You can find an example here: http://lucifr.com/2006/09/21/integrating-a-forum-with-wordpress/

    Is that OK for you? Looking forward to your reply!

    Thank you!

  24. Hi everyone, has any of you seen the movie, What the bleep do we know…

    This to me is reality, or sounds the most reasonable.

     

    Im more of a believer in science then in a god.

    Write back with your opinions on this movie!  

  25. Did God create verything? Yes, and no. Obviously, God didn’t make desks, or computers or the in ternet or the Flying Scotsman or the Fourth Rail Bridge or Hoover Dam or the Transcontinental Railway or the Bell Rock Lighthouse or… the list endless.

    God did create us. Why? Who knows. When we die, maybe we find out. Is it that he isn’t really watching us, but casting his eye out over another planet or star, or creating a new planet with diversity as much as Earth? Or that he is, and just watching whilst we all make a mess of our lives?

    I’m digressing here. What I wanted to go on about was what God created. Everything. Without him we wouldn’t have anything to make the Fourth Bridge with. So the bridge is made of iron, and the Iron is made of Iron ore, and the Iron Ore is made of Iron and Oxygen, and both those are made of molecules and atoms Ok, so this isn’t technically accurate since it follows the production process rather than the hierarchy, but the entirity of this article is screwed anyway, so just live with it.

    Aha! So who created those? The big bang, we say… but who made the big bang? String theory, et al. all seem totally twisted because no-one ever bothers to explain any proof they have, so they all they all seem like ideas devised 4:55 on a Friday afternoon before all the physicists clocked off for the weekend.

    To say that there’s something outside out universe is OK, but what? Is it another universe, full of universes? Who created that? And who created whatever’s outside that?

    Just about every question in this article can be answered in one word: God. OK, so since I know I exist, I can say I am a brain in a jar, but to simulate that from a sinlge brain, no matter how big, is collosal.

    Also, no amount of computer power could simulate the size of the universe, everything we see in the night sky. All the programmers know it’d take some doing to make a simulation of this detail and accuracy. Think about it. Right down to the tiniest detail, the molecular structure of the human reproduction systems are perfect. If it was any other way, even slightly, then humans would be dead by now.

    And then there’s disease. Why would God make disease? Say God didn’t. Say God made the good things by guiding them with a helping hand through evolution – providing them with a different scenario, giving them a reason to adapt, predicting how they will react, and eventually, creating all the Fish, Birds, Plants, Amphibians and Mammals. Bacteria was made from the leftovers. What god left behind became controlled by Satan, or whoever, or maybe just evolved quietly and eventually left to cause devastation to all sorts of animals and plants.

    God realised that the molecules that he called "life" would need Food, so he made the Food Chains. Although not the kindest way to do it, it did the trick.

    God also saw that the molecules he had created needed to be different types, so he created the chemicals of the periodic table, and probably many more in space that we still haven’t discovered.

    What is Planet Earth? God’s creation. His wonderful creation.

    Another annoying footnote – the ideas presented in this article probably don’t fit in with every religion’s idea of creation. I myself am a Christian, and this article pretty much fits in with the book of Genesis, apart from the whole "days" thing. One suggestion of mine is that a day in heaven or wherever is much longer than a day on Earth, probably so God can watch over Earth or whatever he does for longer.

  26. A lengthy essay premised upon nothing.  Socratic logic would dictate that if an argument contains two contradictory premises, it is fallacious.  It would assume that each tenet could be tested. 

    Of the three tenets, I could not see any way that such a test could be made, particularly the third, which is not at all a premise, but simply a statement of (apparently) a universal idea, with no particulars.

    Ultimate truth may well be attainable – but it won’t come without the effort of critical thinking.  While setting up straw men is kind of fun if you are taking target practice, it is generally a poor way of arguing anything – whether we are computer constructs, real beings, whatever.

    The Existentialists argued this stuff years ago, the Nihilists followed suit, Jackson Pollock did himself in for it, John Cage wrote non-existent music, and still Hollywood can create a clamour by the merest imitiation of deep thought. 

    Stay on focus people – we are physical beings trying to live a spiritual life – it is not, and has never been the other way around. 

  27. Good article, but flawed.  Only three options given; the first two are false therefore the third must be true?  That’s using the flawed logic of ‘All cats have four legs, therefore everything with four legs is a cat’.  Not so.  There are obviously more than the three statements above available, as I find it difficult to get my head around our whole universe being a simulation.  Call me limited in my thinking, call me anything you want, but I believe we exist in reality in a universe.  The fact that it could be a simulation, and that with only three limiting questions it is a simulation, doesn’t make it a simulation.  As for the Matrix; that’s only a film.  Of course the film’s premise that humans were the energy source for the machines is totally flawed, but that’s only because the Wochowski (?spelling) Brothers didn’t think it through.  That simply means their imagination wasn’t quite up to the job – it doesn’t invalidate the whole ‘Matrix’ argument.  Not that I can believe we’re living in one!

  28. you missed in paper on “are we real?” the film “what do the bleep do we know?” it states what is reality and gives clues on what reality is if it does exist.
    Personally myself I have had a few ideas that are seperate from what you talked about and what other ideas other people have come up with.
    I would like to mention these but without a knowledge of what people understand it would be hard to write it out and have everyone understand,

    so if you want to talk about this idea of mine visit my website.
    thanks
    sam

  29. What if human life simply starts out as a sophistiated chemical creature, and at some point it becomes "self-aware" and spirit is first born from this event?

  30. In my view this idea is moving in the right direction but still has some way to go. Although perfectly plausible, it is based entirely upon current thinking, confined within the bounds of a belief system which revolves around technology being the key to the future and to progress. In terms of universal consciousness however, the idea that computers are a necessary requirement, or even the most efficient means of creating and shaping universes must surely be deemed as being somewhat archaic. I believe that in the course of time the development of human consciousness will lead us in a wholly new direction which will render technology obscelete along with the material prison which wonderful though this advancement may seem and useful though it does and will certainly continue to prove, it is nonetheless still merely a facet of. There is still to my mind, a wealth of human potential yet to be tapped and a string of limitless possibilities yet to be explored. I therefore submit that while the notion of computer generated realities is wholly possible (and doubtless many do exist), it is by no means certain that this reality is one of them.

  31. READ!!!ok, ive thought of this kinda stuff on my own, being are we just like the sims game? well, theres proven facts that nothing is rea, everything we think we touch, we really arent.. theres an electric feild over everything, and eberything is just made out of little pieces that i dont know how to explain.. but i do know that everything in this so called life ties up, they say we couldnt live with out our brain, but our brain wouldnt work with electricity. the great feelings we get with our partners is just more electricity heating us up for the sex. how did we find out of this electricity??it came from the clouds!!! the bible is a bunch of words, and stories that sound like my grandpa wouldve told me to make me laugh or get all hyped up. but because of this wonderful thing electricity, it let out a WHOLE NEW WORLD.computers, cell phones, Television, not to mention that the tv purposely messess with our eyes. is that susppose to happen? i think yes, kinda like those books where you cross your eyes to see a picture, why would someone make something like that? i dont know, but it helped me find out of a new vision, its just where you blur it out. but every light or reflection turns to an orb. all the teens i hangout with can do it. its very weird… have you ever thought of calling someone, saying something to someone, but they kinda beat it to you? i know alot of you have… and its very common… but how does that happen? and when we talk to ourselves, how do we know that were not really talking to somebody else??or something else??? have you ever seen that light in somebodys eye? just around the pupil, usually occurs in the actors eyes in films or your close friends, isnt it weird? i mean theyre even putting that white dot on little kid toys, my 1 year old niece had a toy cell phone that really talks to her with eyes like that… its just too weird. now have you ever thought whats the purpose of light? i see it as two ways, either it makes see, orrr it turns that area on, cause if you really think about it, you turn the lights out when you go to bed or leave… what is the oneee thing us humans have in common with EVERYTHING, grass, bugs, food, and much more…we grow, as simple as that…we alllllll grow. the world grows.but leading back to electricity, you can call it a miracle, but i call it a purpose, and asteroids. they say they destroyed out earth, well how come theres no real evidence of that asteroid that landed on our earth? because it never happend, it was definately somethiing else.. im only 16, but my mind is going insane because i cant find the real truth, so please somebody, help me out with this

  32. not to mention everything works in waves, sound, water, our blood, wind, everything… its something so beautiful that i must meet this creator of ours:-)

  33. A load of tripe. This is just the sort of sensationalist codswhallop that people love to read because it frees them from their own responsibility, viz. I am a computer simulation so what will happen is beyond my control. If we are a computer simulation then you are a Syntax Error.

    This idea is like saying an ant farm or a fish aquarium is a computer simulation. Given the size of the universe and the number of components in it you cannot create a simulation using any equipment to duplicate it without saying there is almost no limit to how fast something can go. I notice you throwing up the Game of Life simulation thing as an example of how a simple automatia can create complex patterns. Maybe true but the computing power increase exponentially with the number of items being calculated. We are talking here about untold numbers of bacterial cells, atoms creatures and the ist goes on to calculating the vectors of individual flame pouring from a sun. Give me a break.

    As for the Matrix, while the world portrayed in it might but somewhat of a simulation, the people (aside from some eccentric individuals) were real.

    I concur with other posters here, giving the ultimatum of three different scenarios is narrow and foolish. It is exactly this kind of Lunacy which would draw a person closer to God. yes, I am a Christian, and if I wasn’t and was given a choice between this stupid theory and the existance of God, well, the only choice is God.

    I have seen this theory on other parts of the web and it should be ridiculed and declaimed by both the religious and scientific community.

     

  34. Living in a simulation doesn’t really answer anything, if us, our world & our universe is all just an advanced computer simulation..  the people that own the computer will still live on a planet in a universe..so. we may as well just accept that what ever the situation with us, there is still a real universe with planets and people living in it..

  35. Is there a God? YES. Did God create all things, including human beings? YES.

    you can’t say that. you have absolutely no proof of any god or creator. you weren’t there when all things were created. you’ve never seen god, you have no proof whatsoever…  science uses the brain, religion uses the heart…

    alas you cannot prove god, why? cos there is no proof.

  36. [quote]Are there technologically advanced civilizations out there? [/quote]

    Out where? deeper into the simulation? If we are a simulation, that question would be, ummm, not right? “Out there” would be in terms of outside our “computer” and impossible for us to ever find or discover as “they” created not only us, but the existence we have…

    and to hell with the God theory… I mean could not that technologically advanced civilization that created our existence also inserted “god” into us? so, you could believe that “god” created everything and still be in a simulation… haha!

  37. I think it’s important to note that when asking the question “Would a society have ethical issues?” you must also remind yourself that we carry out several far worst studies on societies of Mice, Rabbits, Monkeys, and even Humans have been subject to some of our lesser moral, but equally intellectual Nazi scientists. We can’t assume that our type .7 society is any more valuable to a type 4 society than the type .05 mice society is to us?

    Isn’t the quantitative Sagan-interpreted Kardashev scale kind of prejudice to massive animal societies that have achieved efficiency beyond our own? I think Kardashev is measuring some arrogant nature-domineering power consumption rate instead of efficiency and productivity. On his scale, a Type .5 society could be all powerful mechanized worlds that simply use a minute amount of net energy. Is it so unreasonable to think when people on our own planet have been trying to discover free or low-friction energy? Why couldn’t a powerful society minimize the coefficient of friction to create nearly perfect machines that used minor amounts of electricity to power? They’d be considered less than Type 0, yet more powerful than any hypothetical Type 4 society.

  38. im not gonna argue with the article you posted, i read it, and i would like to agree with you, but i’m a thomas, and i can’t agree with either side of the debate. So here’s my email : Dark_rider2009@hotmail.com
    i just want everything that could help me settle my mind on that matter, it’s almost a cry to find some kind of answer to that question, i dont believe in god or in some power governing our destiny but i believe we have a destiny as a species. Before going on, i must apologize for my english wich, i know isn’t great, and my spelling is probably even worst, lol, but still help me find something that could make everyone advance on this. I don’t really know what i want, i think i just actually want a lead, so i can investigate into it, use your instinct and answer me and send me something… plz. i know this page isnt for that kind of thing but used mostly for debate, at least that’s what it looks like, but your my first lead as someone else wondering about those thing. trust me, i will post the result of my research.

    Pierre-Olivier Bourque Pratte a.k.a Dark_rider2009@hotmail.com

    p.s.: it’s not that i dont believe in god, but i dont believe in god in the way the christian church believe’s in god. Voltaire has always been closer to what i berlieved into.

  39. The fact is, the designer of the program we are currently booted up in doesn’t want us to know of his existence. If that happens it’s game over, and we wouldn’t preform the same way. Just as if robots were to become self-aware, “yeah,” and “they were a great help, until they realize we made them”. However, the future is a funny thing. Soon we will be able to simulate the computing power of the brain. Even if it is just the math and numbers that have to be executed in order to turn on the simulation, the possibility still exist of an exponential run-away of the expanding information of everything, and every outcome. Space and time are illusions. Space warps with overwhelming gravitational forces. The passing of time is also an illusion, this can speed up or down depending on varied situations. If the very fabric of our existence in the space time dimension can be altered by man, it will be.

  40. What I conclude from this is thinking can only take you so far, I think the real truth of who we are or what we are, or what life is all about, will only be realized by those who go beyond thought, that is where our true nature is. Chronic thinking is why we as a species are in such a mess, it is time that we rise above thought, or I think this species could quite possibly be on its way out the door soon. It seems everyone on here would agree that this simulation question can never be answered, but we are all using thought to come to this conclusion, but maybe their is something more powerful than thought, something beyond thought, the next step in our evolutionary process. I think this question of a simulated world is just a sign that thinking is very limited, and we must go beyond it for us to know who we are what we are, where we are, and what really matters, and what does not. These important questions can not be answered in humanities current state, but I think it is possible to go beyond our current state

  41. Think of the mind as a tool, like a pen, a pen is great for writing, but it would fail at putting nails into wood, for that you would use a hammer. Just as are mind is great for interpreting the world around us, and making decisions in the various life scenarios we find ourselves in, but for answering the questions of who we are what we are, why we are here, are we real, and questions like that, we need to find a different tool. And I think that tool has been found by a few people in the past, like the Buddha, Jesus, and also some people that are a live today. To ask am I real suggests that there is more than you, there is you, and who ever is asking that question. Who are you, and who is asking if you exist. I think we are all living an illusion that we are our thoughts, and our ego is what makes us hold onto this identification with thought. Once you can stop Identifying with thought, I think the answer to this question will come very easily, you will realize the question itself came from your ego, which is an illusion, and what was causing you to be addicted and Identified with thought. hope this helps
    Somebody had a great imagination, who came up with this question, but I think it is just that imagination, not reality.

  42. I donot believe we are real, if we are how is god possible? i was born on christmas day my fathers middle name is joseph my mothers middle name is mary my national insurance number starts with jc and when the numbers are translated to letters it reads IECADB. i hane a number 389OA in my right eye and a birth mark on the back of my head, no joke. a while back i had a run in with the deil and was forced to terminate it, it threatened to harm my family. turns out god was the same consciousnss so it went the same way. if we are real or not dosent really matter as its all relativity. we are here to preserve the way of life. what a good/bad job we all do. i believe in peace and privacy for all mankind be them/us what ever way shape and form we are. peace to all man kind and the way of life x

  43. My whole life I always questioned life and never belived in the god therory.
    I do have one thing that happens to me pretty much my whole life and now it finally makes since, since I learned about the simulation therory.
    When I look up on the ceiling or in the sky if I relax I see what looks like a computer when it is broken. Just yesterday I was waiting for my kids to get off the bus and in my perrifeil vision in the sky, was it again, it is like the sky moves and some computer comes through like the sky is having a glech.
    It is so hard to describe.
    If I stare at the ceiling laying down it looks like some port whole is opening and I feel like I can touch it but as soon as I try it’s just the ceiling. The ceiling moves like in waves but wow when the shy did it, it hit me we are not leaving in reality.
    My god it bothers me to think of my kids as not being real and boy it pisses me off but now I just want to find out how to crack the code.
    I have always had a very unique mind.
    When I dream I can control my dreams and I know I’m in a dream, I can do anything and go any where in my dreams. My consious mind is aware of the sub-consious mind in my sleep and for alot of people that is hard to do or in possible.
    I can see aroras time to time only when massaging.
    All I know is I’m on here tonight because I needed answers to what I have been seeing and feeling about this so called world.
    I wish that I can just jump out of this simulation and live in a life I feel I can really control outside of my dreams.
    If I can see the flaws in the simulation then can I break out and how?

    For those of you on hear preching GOD please find that kind of site.
    I can tell you there is know god like what is in the bible. Maybe a creater but not a god like what is in the bible.
    it’s all a lie

  44. I belive I have figured out this world and what it is.
    I belive we are living in a simulation and that we are in it because are real self is a spirit,ghost what ever you want to call it and we as a spirit world what to live in a more fisical realm so there for we have made this simulation as a way to have that body and world be as real as possible.
    I belive the rules are similar to a video game you come into the world and if you play good, then when we die we can come back to this world but if we don’t play fair the game is over for that spirit and he/she is are not aloud to come back to the simulation.
    I belive this is why we have so many spirits in the simulation/world and that they want to be able to be in the simulation but have screwed up and can’t come back so they haunt us. I think this is why you hear of some people dieing and then seeing a light and then they see spirit figures and some how there is a destion made that they should or should not come back.
    The term spirit guide I think is true. we do have sprit guides like angles.
    Judgement day I think is true, we are judged as to weather we can come back to the simulation.
    Hell on earth I belive is true for those who can’t come back because all they want is to feel and taste and smell and enloy all the little pleasures but they can’t, they can see us enjoying them and so it is hell for them, stuck watching us enjoy the simulation while they are stuck in a spirit world.

    I belive this is why egyptians where so upsessed with the spirit world and so many cultures respect it because that is our real world and this one is the simulation all made for us as a prevlage to enjoy.

    All this world is, is a computer and there are gleeches just like a computer that is why there is dajhvoo that is a gleech. I belive in norstadamses therory of time and that we live in the past, present and future. I belive time travel is very possible because of this therory we have to find out how to navigate the simulation.

    Dajhvoo is bigger than we know and tells us so much more than. Oh wow I remember that happing before.

    We are living in simulated body’s like the matrix and we can program our minds to think any way we want in turn having anything we want or doing anything we want in this world.
    We are programmed as kids with our parents when they instill what they call us or how they treat us.
    We need to re-program our minds buy getting thing’s like the silva method or motivational video’s and cd’s that work both sides of our brain, we can re program it.
    One day it will be as easy as the matrix and we can just link up to a program and down load.

  45. If we do indeed exist within a simulation, this certainly implies that our technologies, including our computational technology, is also simulated. If this is so, maybe we are making incorrect correlations between our computing abilities and those used to ‘run’ the simulation we are in. Some may disbelieve in the Matrix theory based purely on the limitations of our current computing power, yet it must be realized that what we regard as being possible now, may be by contrast absurdly crude, almost to the point of ridicule by those ‘outside’ the simulation. It is a mistake I feel, to compare our computing techniques and abilities to those running such a simulation, as I suspect any kind of computational power required to run such a simulation would be literally beyond our understanding and comprehension, and in our ‘reality’, the computers we have developed so far are like monkeys using sticks as weapons.

    If we take this kind of ‘reduction for function’ theory a little further, maybe the universal speed limit, the speed of light, is also ‘built in’ to our simulation. Perhaps it is a mechanism to prevent us from eventually being able to travel faster than light, only to reach the ‘edge’ of the simulation itself.

    Or, maybe even more strange – what if I’m the only person in this simulation? Only I can experience my own consciousness, so it’s impossible for me to know for sure that ‘you’ or anyone else exists within this simulation. You are simply here for me to interact with, within the simulation. If this scenario were true, then only my consciousness/reality would need to be computed. My own consciousness in a relatively small simulation. For example; when I look up into the night sky, yes – there are stars, and I’m realistically informed that they are many light years away. Given that I will never be able to travel to those stars, it would be an easy mechanism to convince me that the stars exist, and yes, they are very far away, when actually, they wouldn’t need to be simulated at all, well, not to any great detail. They would simply be points of light in my simulation. There would be no need to simulate the stars as massive luminous balls of gas far away – that would be a waste of computing power. Simply make me believe that the stars are very massive, and very far away, as I will not encounter them close-up. Or, if I were to take a plane to another country, the route I take, and my vision as far as my eyes can see is all that’s required to be simulated. Once I arrive at my destination, only the scenery around me, and the landscape as far as I can see needs to be computed and simulated.

    It seems the more we think about a Matrix, the more bizarre it seems to become.

    Would we really be allowed to contemplate a Matrix within a Matrix?

    .

  46. hi,

    The idea of living in a simulated world has been a long held belief by hindus…. they called it as “MAYA”….!!!….Where everything is controlled by God…..there is no right or wrong…..according to “bhagavat Gita” (one of the holy book of the hindus) we only have dharma(duty)…. or choices(as said by the oracle in the movie matrix)
    That being said…here is a certain theory that i have been working on…its based on the eastern philosophies of hinduism, buddhism ,the pagan teachings of ancient europe and countless formulated and well established theories i have come across on virtual reality, Boson particle, string theory, uncertainity principle, quantum physics,..etc.
    We are all conscious beings…and every consious being creates its own world!!!!…it interprets the information around it in its own way….!!But humans are the highest forms of consiousness(in our realities….more on this later)..we have created standards and even control the reality of other beings.
    Consider a simulated world in which the sky is red in colour!! lets introduce a conscious being say Mr.X into this world…..he with his power of perception finds the sky in a different colour, lets say blue(*but in acutality its red in colour…)…he coins the word blue to describe the colour of the sky!!! Now another consious being Mr.Y is inroduced into this world..he with his own power of perception sees the sky in a colour different from blue, lets say yellow, but before he can get on with the job of coining names for colours Mr.X interacts with Mr.Y and tells him the sky is blue in colour…So Mr.Y gives the name blue to the colour of the sky(*eventhough what he actually sees is yellow…)….Now whenever Mr.X and Mr.Y come across a red coloured object they see different colours….but will agree on seeing the same colour, blue…the only way Mr.X can acertain that Mr.Y sees the same colour as him is by becoming Mr.Y!!
    In other words Mr.X and Mr.Y live in 2 different worlds but agree on living in the same world…..!!!!!
    Okay …. everything seems to be in order and harmony here..lets spice it up and introduce a lil chaos into the lives of our lab rats 😛 !!!….. Another consious being Mr.Z has been kept in complete isolation from Mr.X and Mr.Y all this while….this Mr.Z also sees the sky differently in a colour different from red, blue and yellow, say green. So in the absence of interaction with Mr.X and Mr.Y…he calls this colour green(*remember the sky is still red in colour from our perspective)!!!Now..what if Mr.Z was to stumble upon Mr.Y and Mr.X….Kaboom…all hell’s gonna break loose…. Mr.X is gonna disagree with Mr.Z and Mr.Y who has his world defined by Mr.X will support Mr.X…… Mr.Z will be casted out as being crazy!!!!!
    The same can hold true in our world…..maybe we’all live in different worlds….but have our worlds defined by our textbooks and media (Mr.X)…. anybody who acts different is considered a pyscho or a deviant (Mr.Z)……how will we ever know…???

    Iam not sure as to how well i could express my thoughts on this matter…..but iam open to discussions and arguments…..Iam might be nuts…but all Iam looking for is answers….!!!! 🙂

  47. I enjoyed your article and for the past couple of years I have come to believe that what we experience is not real. Two years ago I had an enlightenment experience. It lasted for two months. Many things happened and my awareness of the world completely changed during those days. My views of all the key issues such as religion, spirituality, politics, truth etc. all changed within a matter of seconds once the experience began. One of the key understandings that happened within seconds of the experience beginning was a keen understanding that our reality is not real. The knowledge doesn't come with an explanation, but the understanding is total, complete, and understandable. Once it happens you immediately understand the things we perceive as real simply are not.

  48. Don't know about god making the earth in seven days or the big bang but i do know that we not only can but will simulate life and if it addes to the pleasure by having a virtual world that contains some type of God then i guess we would throw that in to see what type of outcome we get.

    This is all very cutting edge but worth looking at if your logical like me.

  49. You have not factored in the amount of information processing required (and the amount of data this particular universe contains, after starting from zero data). The cosmos is indeed a quantum computer. But the only computer big enough to run the software and handle the data is…the universe. For a primer on this, read Dr Seth Lloyd's "Programming the Universe".

  50. Sean

    Where do you get this theory that the computer would need to be as big a the universe ?

    Watching a computer game that is low res just means the tiles are low res and moving up to HD would require only a little more memory and do remember you don't need to store data down to the last atom because you just need to simulate the atoms when someone/thing is looking.

    Sim city does not need a computer the size of a city to run and we are backwards when it comes to computers because we only use zero and ones or on/off in the electronics for memory.

    You also need to know that our computers are limited by being forced to use the laws of physics that have been allowed for in this simulation or put another way if no one programmed simm city to allow people to bribe the politicans then no one would be able to bribe politicians.

  51. Why would anyone create a simulation? THE ANSWER,

    In the matrix there was a traitor named Cypher he gave the codes to the machines and in exchange he wanted this: money and riches for personal gain.

    I think there are people on this planet that have bought there way into this program or designed the program for personal gain, (the illuminati)

    Cyber said it himself i wanne be rich, i want a beautifull young wife, i want my own helicopter, i want………… that why.

  52. We are indeed in a simulation.Not only are we in one but it when it ends it automatically starts the cycle all over again.I do not know how long this has been going on but i certainly have written this message to you at least a billion times already.Very minor things change each time.For instance last time you were called Kevin.

  53. There seems to be a computational problem with the argument. Assuming every simulated universe is composed of atoms (or some basic building block), how large a computer would you need to simulate it? Unless you can simulate more than atom with one atom of computer, then the size of the universe you can simulate in each layer of simulation depth, decreases rapidly. Leaving the question, how many basic building blocks are required to exist in a simulated universe for said simulated universe to be able to harbor intelligent life. At some point the simulated universes become too small to create life (and more simulators) even if every atom in that universe were used to build a computer. This changes the stats significantly…..however, it is predicated on the assumption that one simulated atom/basic-building-block cannot simulate more than one atom/basic-building-block. This assumption could of course be strained by letting each consecutive simulation run extremely slow, thereby possibly allowing an atom of computer simulate more than one atom.

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