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Is there any way how to dispove that universe is a computer simulation?

  1. Oct 22, 2011 #1
    Hello, everybody.
    I have been actually afraid of posting this thread, because I usually lack in time (you know I have to work to survive), and as far as I know philosophical threads tend to be really long and complex. I consider myself as a layman when it comes to philosophy, so I hope I won't make too much arguing, just because I posted this controversial thread.
    I truly don't know how many times this subject has been discusses, but I would need your help to understand it more thoroughly, since when it comes to this thread, it makes me confused.
    I've seen a couple of New Scientist texts where it says that entire universe is a gigantic classic/quantum computer simulation...?

    I somehow doubt that universe really is simulation, since how would simulation explain the beginning and evolution of the universe that lasted 14 billion years, and our Earth's creation and evolution of all species in the last 4.6 billion years-I honestly doubt the simulation would last that long. When you simulate something it is instantly created after you put it in the hard drive, it doesn't take 14 billion years.

    And what about human brain you can't really simulate something that adapts to the environment by itself-there is no simulation in it, since it is all brain's function, they don't say that human brain is plastic-which means adaptable and learns all its life. I would also say that none has actually a free will, because of the brain, however, brain itself has "a free will", because none and nothing actually tells the brain how to adapt, brain does it on its own. That would all mean that universe, if creates something like human brain during evolution, cannot obey to whatever simulation does, because it is not simulation that gave the brain ability to adapt and survive in the environment, brain did it on its own-without being simulated.

    Because if human brain was a part of simulation universe (simulated human brain), than it would obey to simulation laws and rules in the hardware, and we would be all dead. Basically, you would have a simulated universe with zombies, because you can't simulate life, all processes, reactions, changes and etc..., you would have to have knowledge of alll things in the universe, including the universe itself.
    However. brain definitely is not some algorithm.
    What do you think?

    Thanks to all.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2011 #2
    Why does it need to last that long? Why can't the simulation be created such that 1nanosecond in the 'fundamental reality' equals one million years to us? Why not a billion... why not 100 trillion? How fast time seems to 'move' for us is really irrelevant to how fast time moves to some outside world.

    Say that we set up a computer simulation to run a simulation of the universe for 1 minute... and it was set to simulate 60 billion years of universe evolution in that 1 minute. For us only one minute has passed... but for the simulation 60 BILLION years have based. If there was some living organisms or something simulated in there they would have lived through 60 billion years, no? There, time would just be much, much, much, much, much slower than it is here.

    What? I'm not sure I followed here.
    Anyway, I see no reason why the human brain can not be simulated to have evolved, thru natural selection, in a simulator. I have seen programs that have simulated watch evolution and other forms of evolution simulators... they do exist, in OUR world. Why wouldn't the possibly exist in some much more advanced species which is simulating our world?

    What? I don't see any logical connection in what you've said here.

    Aside from the original premise this statement is based on.... Of course you just set the initial conditions for the simulation and let it go buck wild on it's own for a minute. That's the whole point of a simulation. I think you think that a simulation simply means 'imitating something that is already known exactly' or 'creating something precisely' (as in intelligent design) which is not true. We can simulate universes development like our own but if we wanted we could mess around with constants and simulate to see what happens. We certainly DON'T know what will happen when we simulate (even a universe like ours, based on initial conditions and constants) nor how accurate it is.
    How do you know? Prove it.
  4. Oct 22, 2011 #3
    Well, none has actually prove it that brain i algorithm either, I'm very suspicious about this hypothesis. If this hypothesis is correct, than we should easily shoot ourselves with guns in our heads, since everything is simulation.
    However, this bring another paradox that someone on these forums already posted:

    This whole issue is rather meaningless, because (independent of whether this proposition makes any sense and weather it is the case) the thing is that even that computer simulation must run on some hardware, so it simply means our world would be embedded in a super-world, which in turn could be itself a simulation in yet another super-super-world, etc, so it would be an infinite regress of simulations embedding simulations.
    Which in my opinion makes the whole issue meaningless or not worth considering.
    Likewise the case in which it is assumed the world is some creation of some deity, as also in that case it would lead to a same infinite regress of a deity created by a super-deity, and so on.
    It would be more sensible to accept the world as it is, and for which the question as to what the ultimate nature of the world is, is a useless question and/or is for ever in the domain of unknowable things.
    We better look for extending our knowledge in domains of things which can be known, and also have practical use for living our lives. Like it would be very good to know right now how we can sustain economic development without using carbon based fossil fuels and/or not-yet-safe nuclear technology, and enhance living possibilities for future generations based on sustainable/renewable ways of production and economic development.

    Plus, it's obvious that this hypothesis doesn't work, because how would humans create all this architecture, mathematics, physics, shape the face of the Earth according to their own needs-do you really think this is simulated?
    How is this simulated if humans decided to do all this, it wasn't someone who simulated their behaviors and needs for survival, it was free will of all humans, adapting to environment and etc..., that is not simulated.
  5. Oct 22, 2011 #4
    if actually the universe is a big computer simulation, who/what is controlling it? Simulation does not happen on its own...or do they??
  6. Oct 22, 2011 #5
    Exactly, universe can't simulate itself and cannot fix itself if something goes wrong in its own simulation/code creation, universe as a simulation can't program itself, cannot write its own codes to start a simulation, it requires superior intelligence that lives outside the universe.

    The universe may be running in a manner analogous to a quantum computer.
    However, it cannot be a simulation by definition.
    A simulation requires something to simulate. A simulation can't simulate itself. By definition, the universe contains everything.
    In order for your question to make any sort of sense, you must tell us what the universe is simulating. That something must be
    outside the universe.
  7. Oct 22, 2011 #6

    And that shows/proves why is so meaningless to talk about it.
  8. Oct 22, 2011 #7
    You started a thread on it.

    If you're interested in philosophical 'being as simulation' I suggest you read the papers before going against the theory, because it's clear you have no idea what you're talking about.
  9. Oct 22, 2011 #8
    What exactly, that the universe can't simulate itself?
  10. Oct 22, 2011 #9
    Have you read the relevant literature on the topic of simulation hypotheses? Your posts thus far have indicated absolutely no knowledge what-so-ever related to such hypotheses.

    Even in this post 'the universe can't simulate itself' what the hell are you going on about?
  11. Oct 22, 2011 #10
    I read them, yes, but they don't explain if the infinite regression above.
    I don't know on which part of simulation hypothesis did you mean?
  12. Oct 22, 2011 #11
    Because universe can't simulate itself, that's the same as your computer's videogame simulates itself, which is impossible.
  13. Oct 22, 2011 #12


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    No. That's why it's philosophy, not science.
  14. Oct 22, 2011 #13


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    LOL. Kind of makes philosophy sound like nonsense as opposed to something that actually has meaning. Oh wait... :tongue2:

    This thread is pointless, yes I know it's accepted as "philosophy" by some. People can read the old threads listed at the bottom of this thread if they are so inclined. This just isn't going anywhere.

    Seriously, and what was the universe before computers? Why not ask if we are a story in a book? Or a tv show?
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
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