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Some Evidence for the Simulation Hypothesis

The Simulation Hypothesis suggests that we don't actually exist as really real reality but as virtual reality. We 'exist' only as programmed software inside a computer. While this sounds on the surface absolutely crazy, there is evidence, both observational and theoretical which supports the concept.

Here's a stab at some observational evidence / data for the Simulation Hypothesis which postulates that we 'exist' as a simulation inside a computer driven by programmed software.

Evidence in Computer Codes: What Professor of Theoretical Physics Sylvester James (Jim) Gates discovered, by his own admission, is evidence. What he found was computer code encoded within the equations of string theory used to describe the Cosmos. He used the phrase "The Matrix", when discussing this with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. [You can find relevant videos on YouTube.]

Evidence from Fine-Tuning: Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, is on record as saying that the Cosmological Constant is fine-tuned to one part in 10 to the 120th power. One part in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, etc.

Evidence from the Cosmos: The accelerating expansion of the Universe is evidence. The energy density of the Universe cannot remain constant while the volume of the Universe is increasing. That's a free lunch. That's the generation of something from nothing. Software however can create that illusion.

Evidence from here on Earth: There is no single acceptable explanation for Crop 'Circles' - not ET, not Mother Nature, not human activity. What we might have here are special effects courtesy of software.

Evidence from the Atom: It's claimed, I suspect with very good experimental reasoning, that an atom is literally 99.99% empty space yet we have the illusion that there is no empty space. That 99.99% emptiness suggests our programmer is being very economic with the bits and bytes while also being able to program in the illusion that there is no empty space.

Evidence from Quantum Mechanics: Pure observation cannot change wave behavior into particle behavior as revealed in the delayed double slit experiment (unless you want to invoke Panpsychism). It's just another software-generated special effect.

Evidence from Theoretical Cosmology: The Holographic Universe scenario (all the rage among some cosmologists) shares an awful lot in common with any virtual reality simulation. Both are actually 2-D constructions while giving off an illusion of 3-D.

Evidence from Quantum Entanglement (Non-Locality): There's no spooky action at a distance (something that worried Einstein) because there is no real distance. In a simulation all points originate from a very small spatial space. It's like a planetarium that simulates the entire visible Universe. Light can travel from one side of the simulated 'visible Universe' to the other side of the simulated 'visible Universe' in a nanosecond if not less. The speed of light has no validity in a simulation.

Evidence from Particle Physics: How can the electric charge of the electron be EXACTLY equal and opposite to that of the proton when they otherwise share nothing in common?

More Evidence from Particle Physics: Why, oh why are there three generations or families of the elementary particles when the top two play bugger-all roles in what makes up life, the Universe and everything? Someone stuffed up and it probably wasn't a deity.

Evidence from within Our Solar System: It seems an absolutely amazing coincidence that the apparent diameters of the Sun and the Moon happen to be just so as to produce solar eclipses at just the right moment when humans came on the scene to appreciate this, given that the Moon is ever moving farther away from the Earth. Also, the tilt of the Moon's orbit has to be within very narrow parameters.

Evidence from the 'Good' Book: We (Royal We) could very easily computer simulate the Jonah and the 'Whale' (tall) tale. So maybe if it really happened, and multi-millions so believe that event to be true however unlikely that seems. So then maybe it was also just a simulation but not one of our making.

Evidence from Probability: If the intelligent species inhabiting the Third Rock from the Sun is a typical example, there will be vastly more virtual reality worlds than real worlds which just might imply that the intelligent species inhabiting the Third Rock from the Sun are themselves virtual beings.

Evidence from Mathematical Equations: It defies probability that the numerous equations used to describe, evaluate and otherwise help us come to terms with the laws, principles and relationships inherent in our mathematical cosmos should nearly all have low value whole numbers as well as a few simple fractions with respect to their coefficients and exponents.

Evidence via Cosmic Recycling: It doesn't have to be the case that stars can recycle their contents to ultimately form new stars with a higher 'metal' content ('metal' defined as everything but hydrogen and helium). Most stars in fact don't recycle their guts. There's recycling and then there's the ultimate garbage dump - Black Holes. It's rather fortunate that not too many stars turn into Black Holes otherwise the Universe would consist of Black Hole filled galaxies as their sole objects - maybe even the galaxy itself would be a pure Black Hole. So recycling stars and not too many Black Holes show a degree of fine-tuning and design courtesy of our computer / software programmer.

Evidence from Our Solar System: The oft observed 'natural' satellite of Venus, named Neith, went walkabout - vanished without a trace. Natural satellites just don’t vanish!

Evidence from Memory: Using our own simulations as an example, we often rewind, replay, tweak, etc. the relevant software. If we are a simulation, and our virtual reality software was replayed, rewound, and/or upgraded, that just might explain the mental phenomena we've nearly all experienced, Deja vu.

Evidence from Our Simulations: Ultimately our simulations are pixelated, the bottom line being 1's and 0's, bits and bytes. There is a fundamental limit to the resolution our simulations have. Well, of course our 'real' Universe is also pixelated and has an ultimate limit to how fine a resolution we can observe it. Everything with any structure and substance seems to be quantized.

Finally, I need point out that all of the above is just suggestive evidence. I make no claim that any or all of the above actually proves we ‘exist’ as a virtual reality simulation.

By johnprytz
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These are arguments for the theory you are supporting not evidence of it.

Evidence in Computer Codes <-- Try reading the actual paper not the dumbed down for YouTube version. arxiv.org/abs/0806.0051 It is math, not computer code. There are no lines of C or C++ or any other programming language there, it is math just like everything else in science. Any actual resemblance to computer code is simply human pattern seeking and analogy just like the code in DNA.

Evidence from Fine-Tuning <-- This is the same argument that creationists use as evidence to point to their god. For all we know the values could be off by 1 point and a completely different universe and different life could exist, we have no evidence one way or the other and no other universes to look at or test on.

Evidence from the Cosmos, Evidence from here on Earth, Evidence from the Atom, Evidence from Quantum Mechanics, Evidence from Quantum Entanglement, Evidence from Particle Physics, More Evidence from Particle Physics, Evidence via Cosmic Recycling, Evidence from Memory <-- God of the gaps arguments, evoking your pet god to explain things that science has not yet explained.

Evidence from within Our Solar System <-- It is only coincidental to those of us observing it. Would it have been coincidental if we had arisen ten million years earlier and seen a moon larger than the sun from an eclipse viewpoint?

Evidence from the 'Good' Book <-- We do not need a computer simulation to explain a fictional story in an old book.

Evidence from Probability, Evidence from Mathematical Equations <-- You do not have sufficient information to calculate the probability of either of these, which also means you don't have enough to decide if it defies probability or not.

Evidence from Our Solar System <-- The "oft observed" satellite you are referencing has was observed less than 50 times between 1645 and 1768 and never since. Considering the limited equipment of the time and the fact that it has not been seen since, I would guess this to have been something else, like an asteroid, comet, background star, etc., rather than some mysterious disappearing moon. I would also not call it oft observed if it has not been seen in the last 250 years.

Evidence from Our Simulations <-- Just because our technology necessitates limits on a simulation does not mean that a sufficiently advanced civilization could not create a simulation without those limits.

Overall your arguments are less arguments and more wishful thinking, and they certainly do not rise to the level of evidence.

icolan Level 7 Oct 10, 2018

Why would anyone want to just "wishful thinking" this scenario? What would the point be?

Now any one indicator can be argued against, but when you can find dozens of threads from many different subjects then a more coherent picture emerges. And I'm just scratching the surface as this was just my opening salvo.

Now here's a point to consider. While there has to be a really real reality (RRR), within that RRR can exist dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions, even multi-millions of software generated virtual reality landscapes. So, what are the odds that you are in the one RRR and not in one of the multitudes of virtual realities?

@johnprytz "Why would anyone want to just "wishful thinking" this scenario? What would the point be?" <-- Why would anyone believe in a magical deity outside space and time that watches their every move and judges them?

"So, what are the odds that you are in the one RRR and not in one of the multitudes of virtual realities?" <-- This is called an appeal to probability and is another logical fallacy.

Without testable, falsifiable, scientific evidence your arguments are nothing more than arguments, just like the theists who believe in their god without testable, falsifiable, scientific evidence.


There are some rational concepts as to why one would believe in a supernatural deity - the need for a sense of agency to explain what you can't explain; a ticket to an afterlife that you can't write up for yourself; the redress that bad things happen to good people and that good things happen to bad people; the idea that ultimately there is a Big Brother who will look after you, etc.

An appeal to probability is no fallacy. Gambling casinos and houses appeal to probability to ensure they make a profit. You appeal to probability every day in assessing whether something good will happen or something bad will happen to you. If you take an airplane flight you are appealing to the odds that the plane won't crash.

Indeed, the Simulation Hypothesis is just an argument. There's nothing wrong with that. There are probably millions of topics that just revolve around arguments. That's part and parcel of the human condition and how we govern ourselves. That's why most schools and institutions of higher learning have Debating Societies / Clubs.

@johnprytz Those are not rational concepts for belief in something that is unprovable, those are the same arguments that theists use to justify their belief in their supernatural gods. Belief in the fundamentally unprovable is not rational.

Casinos, gambling houses, and lotteries do not appeal to probability, they game the odds in the houses favor so they always come out ahead in the long run. I do not "appeal to probability every day in assessing whether something good will happen or something bad will happen to you", I live my life according to the plans I have made and deal with the unplanned when it happens, there is no probability involved. Taking an airplane is not appealing to the odds that it won't crash, if I need to get to a far away place a plane is the only option, so that is the way to go. The odds of the plane crashing do not even factor into it.

Using your definition driving to work is an appeal to probability, which tells me that you don't know what an appeal to probability logical fallacy is. Please look it up, it will help you with framing your arguments in the future.

Most institutions of higher learning and even many high schools have debate clubs or societies. When they present an argument they do not call it evidence, and their arguments are not loaded with logical fallacies, like the appeal to probability, god of the gaps, fine tuning argument, argument from analogy, etc.

You said that "Casinos, gambling houses, and lotteries do not appeal to probability, they game the odds in the houses favor so they always come out ahead in the long run." But clearly "probability" and "odds" are synonymous.

You also said that "Taking an airplane is not appealing to the odds that it won't crash, if I need to get to a far away place a plane is the only option, so that is the way to go." But if you knew or suspected that the odds that the plane would crash were 95% in favour you wouldn't get on that plane!

Similar comments apply to the rest of you reply.

@johnprytz That is still not an appeal to probability.

An appeal to probability is the logical fallacy of taking something for granted because it would probably be the case. It argues that, because something probably will happen, it is certain to happen. Alternate forms include the appeal to possibility (it is possible, therefore it is certain) and the appeal to improbability (it is improbable, therefore it is impossible).

That is the logical fallacy you are committing in your Evidence from Probability, and Evidence from Mathematical Equations. You are using probability as evidence that your hypothesis it true even though you do not have sufficient information to calculate the probability.

An appeal to probability is a logical fallacy, not something you use when determining whether to get on a plane or placing a bet. Those it is reasonably possible to actually calculate the odds for. If you know the odds of something like say the lottery, you are not appealing to probability, you have the actual probabilities.

Please look up some of the logical fallacies I have pointed out in your arguments, it will help you when presenting your case next time.


Perhaps at this stage we should just agree to disagree otherwise we'll just go around in circles endlessly.

@johnprytz You can "agree to disagree" if you want but a logical fallacy is a logical fallacy, if you can't adjust your arguments to correct them when they are pointed out to you that is your loss.


Since you don't exist, could you turn your paycheck over to me?

Krish55 Level 7 Oct 10, 2018

If I don't exist then my paycheck doesn't exist either.

@johnprytz How do you eat? Or do simulated beings not need to eat?

Simulated beings eat simulated food, only of course they just have simulated hunger which is satisfied by eating simulated food. Computer programming easily accounts for this. I mean don't the virtual characters in our video games eat virtual food if that scenario is so programmed in?


The hypothesis of a simulated universe is another attempt to explain our existence by postulating a "higher power", and as such is not very different from primitive religious theories.

PBuck0145 Level 6 Oct 10, 2018

Except a "higher power" in this case is a mortal flesh-and-blood computer programmer(s). That computer programmers can and do exist isn't under any doubt. A supernatural "higher power" is.

@johnprytz Clarke's third law applies here.

Which is any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. But of course that doesn't make it magic, just the illusion of magic to those who don't know the 'trick'.


Ohferpetessake, Another thing to waste your life on..somebody, just please tell me Exactly how this makes one minute's difference to anybody's life in any way?

AnneWimsey Level 8 Oct 11, 2018

If your life can be a simulation then so could your afterlife be simulated. The Simulation Hypothesis could be your only ticket to an afterlife.

@johnprytz and who, exactly, told you i want or need an "afterlife"??? No, thanks. If i have to have something in that area i would greatly prefer reincarnation for all new adventures
BTW I have died twice already, and it was fine the way it was......peaceful!
Incidentally I doubt any non-religious-based afterlife would make one spec of helpful difference to anybody's life....if anybody can get in, why not become an ax murderer?


Ah, but the Simulation Hypothesis could equally cater to the reincarnation scenario. In fact, each and every virtual person could be programmed to get the post-life existence he or she wants or expects. If you want or expect an afterlife, that's what you get. If you want or expect a reincarnation, that's what you get.

In the programmed simulation scenario, you have no free will so you can't choose to become an axe murderer. You're either so programmed or no so programmed.

@johnprytz Well that was fun. The comments are sometimes so much fun.

@johnprytz Your entire virtual afterlife argument would be completely pointless.

Virtual person A expects and gets the Christian heaven, now the computer is tied up presenting a perfect world to a person or people engaged in worshiping a virtual god for all of eternity with no change.

Virtual person B expects and gets reincarnation, so the computer wipes their memory and puts them back through its rebirth protocol. There is no fundamental difference between doing that and just creating a new virtual being, it is not actually reusing the person. If it did not wipe it and just partitioned it off so it was inaccessible, that would be even words because it would be wasting the storage space for information that is inaccessible to the entity that could use it.

It seems to me that you are almost an atheist, you just can't seem to get past the need for an afterlife, which would explain why you are pushing this idea.


@icolan y'all please just volunteer for a soup kitchen or something...something useful & Productive, PLEEEAASE!
And get over Any afterlife, it makes not one iota of difference to this life, unless you think you might be going to He'll, I suppose.....

@AnneWimsey I was pointing out the problems with @johnprytz hypothesis.

I am an agnostic atheist, I do not believe in any god or gods or their afterlives. I firmly believe that this is the only life we get and the mark we make with it is our only legacy.

@icolan this is indeed the only life we get (that we can be aware of, regardless if you read the OP or not) and whether it is some kind of "virtual" or constructed thing makes not a jot of difference to anybody.

Icolan: While I'm sure many, many people believe that this, that their life, is the proverbial IT, I can't imagine that most of those people wouldn't desire there to be some continuation of their consciousness after they shuffle off of this mortal coil. I mean you spend a lifetime gathering up those memories and experiences and thus it seems such a waste that it all vanishes. Now as an analogy, I rather suspect that nearly everyone who buys a lottery ticket believes that they won't win, nevertheless they still would desire a win. What's the saying, something about hope springs eternal.

Now I'm pushing the afterlife argument with respect to the Simulation Hypothesis (although nothing is guaranteed) solely on the grounds that you can't get one in the Mother Nature Hypothesis, and if you don't accept the God Hypothesis, well where does that leave any desire you might have for your consciousness to carry on carrying on?

@johnprytz on the other hand, i have Lots of memories i could live without, so to speak. Maybe if your life has been peaches & cream, you want your consciousness to go on & on.....for me, looking forward to the peaceful darkness!

@johnprytz Desire has nothing to do with reality. What is the point in believing in your simulation hypothesis just to get belief in an afterlife if it is not real? Since there is no more actual evidence for this hypothesis than the god hypothesis, there is no point in believing it, and pushing it makes you no different than a theist.

If you want to be an atheist, you will need to come to terms with the fact that the lack of belief in a god or gods eliminates the belief in an afterlife as well. Making up beliefs because you desire something is pointless and could be harmful.

@AnneWimsey Agreed.

Icolan: Although the two tend to be associated - deities and an afterlife - that association is not of necessity a given or proven. I'm sure really invent-full people can come up with scenarios that involve an afterlife but that doesn't involve a deity or deities. For example I've already run into posters here who postulate a universal consciousness which you are a part of and will continue to be a part of even after you kick-the-bucket.


The simulation hypothesis is one of the most crackpot things I've hear of since a guy waking up dead and moving a boulder or rabbits passing eggs.

motrubl4u Level 6 Oct 10, 2018

So are you saying that it can't be therefore it isn't? If so, how do you KNOW this? Shouldn't you just say that it is a plausible hypothesis and I have an open mind to it?

@johnprytz it's as ridiculous as heaven and hell. Period.

Heaven and/or Hell could just as easily be simulated as any other virtual landscape. I'm sure that humans, especially theists, may already have created simulations of Heaven and/or Hell. Again, the question is how do you KNOW that the Simulation Hypothesis is ridiculous? Just saying so doesn't make it so.


I've had this debate with others.. I feel I have to remind you , the majority of your evidence also can be used to say it is evidence of a higher power..

hippydog Level 7 Oct 10, 2018

Most of your evidence is "faith based" .. same problem religious people have..
"The accelerating expansion of the Universe"..
One, that's not "evidence ".. two , we don't know why it's happening.. it could be gods plan, a simulation, or some part of physics we don't really understand yet..
Deciding that it is a simulation is just a "leap of faith". You are no better then a person who believes their god is the right one.. heck.. at least they have a fancy book 😈

"Evidence in Computer Codes:"..
That was explained below.. and I think very well.. no need to add to it

"Evidence from here on Earth: "..
Actually there is lots of evidence that supports it usually humans that do it.. you might want to dive a little deeper into the facts before making pronouncements like that..

Evidence from Particle Physics and atom..
Not sure how that is evidence?
Why would a simulation even bother with that?

This is true (re: higher power). However, we know that computers, and programmers and software and simulations, etc. can and do exist. We have no such knowledge about a "higher power". Therefore, Occam's Razor might favour the Simulation Hypothesis over the God Hypothesis.

As for the crop circles, you KNOW they exist. That's not in dispute. You KNOW they aren't naturally formed but rather have an intelligence behind them. The idea that E.T. would do a form of agricultural graffiti doesn't make much sense, but I often can't figure out what my cat is thinking, far less what goes on in the mind of an a]extraterrestrial. That leaves the human, but has any human actually been caught in the act? I mean the act is not only vandalism and destruction of property but trespass. How many humans have been arrested and tried for forming a crop circle? Has there been any associated human litter or footprints found in association with a new crop circle? Finally, there are examples where it was impossible for a human(s) to have been involved, like the Julia Set which happened in broad daylight, within a brief period of time, in potential full view of not only a close-by motorway but in potential full view of tourists at Stonehenge - and nobody saw a thing, yet there the 'circle' was. If humans are responsible, then EVERY crop circle has to be explainable as a human construction. That's not the case.

As for particle physics, etc. riddle me this - how is it possible that the electric charge on an electron is EXACTLY equal and opposite to that on a proton to as many decimal places as you care to go to, when in all other properties of the two are drastically different?

@johnprytz Occam's Razor favors reality not a complex computer simulation.

Just because we can't prove humans did it doesn't prove that they didn't. Unless you have actual evidence that crop circles can form on their own, the best explanation is either a natural phenomena or humans.

Just because we cannot currently explain why something is or happens is not evidence of your hypothesis any more than it is a theists god, that is the God of the Gaps argument and has been used for millennia to explain the unexplainable, until it is explained then it moves on to filling some other gap.

Icolan: If the Mother Nature Hypothesis (really real reality) can't explain X, Y or Z, and you reject the God Hypothesis, where does that leave you? I mean the Mother Nature Hypothesis supports the idea that things happen for absolutely no reason at all (radioactive decay); that things can both be and not be at the same time (superposition of state); that something comes from nothing (i.e. - dark energy), etc. Mother Nature is filled with contradictions and absurdities.


Well, if that turns out to be true then a heaven and God program becomes more valid. I hope the program doesn't have a hell. We need to find the cheat codes ASAP

paul1967 Level 8 Oct 10, 2018

A simulation could indeed simulate a Heaven AND a Hell as well as all other afterlife locations or abodes.


You have been watching too many Keanau Reeve movies homie.

Flyingsaucesir Level 7 Oct 14, 2018

Huh. Someone please find me Ctrl-Alt-Delete. I am afraid that the simulation has been infected with viruses.

KenChang Level 7 Oct 10, 2018

The God Virus

I was thinking more about the homo sapiens virus, that spawned all other viruses....

Worse than that, what happens when the computer is shut down or the program is deleted?


Blindly rejecting an idea because you see a resemblance to another idea which you despise is no better than blindly accepting an idea because it does so.

Ribarnica Level 4 Oct 15, 2018

Your evidence is not well substantiated. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This is just silly.

Stephanie99 Level 7 Oct 14, 2018

Firstly, I disagree with the statement that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Claims require evidence - full stop - no more and no less. Why? The term "extraordinary" lies in the mind of the beholder. What's extraordinary to one person isn't of necessity going to be extraordinary to another.

Secondly, I'm not even close to being finished yet. This is just the opening salvo.

Thirdly, if this is just silly, well that's a claim, and you need to back up your claim with evidence!

@johnprytz The evidence is in your post.

Apparently not all of the readers here have come to the same conclusion as you have. So your 'evidence' lies solely within your own mind. I doubt that it would stand up in an actual court of law. The jury wouldn't be unanimous.

And stay tuned for there will be more posts ahead. What I've already said is not by any means the be-all-and-end-all of simulated things.


Long story short. First, a Simulation would be computationally expensive and second a determination that the world we live in is a simulation would mean there is some kind of world outside this simulation world where this simulator actually works and renders the simulation for us, which seems redundant and useless.

DaPineappleDude Level 3 Oct 14, 2018

No, a simulation wouldn't of necessity be computationally expensive. Consider how a planetarium can simulate whole galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Further, an atom is 99.99% empty space and thus doesn't require much computation at all. Finally, you only need to program what is going to be observed. You don't have to simulate the inside of a rock if you're not observing the inside of a rock. Simulating a star in the night sky requires massively less computation than trying to simulate the entire entirety of said star.

And yes, there's another layer to the onion. That's just a variation on Godel's Incompleteness Theorem. So, does that make human video game programmers redundant and useless when the characters in our video games ponder their reality?


This is mental masturbation. Mind games for those privileged with education and time but alienated from their fellow humans. "Thought Experiments" for those with a lack of compassion to address real issues facing real people. It's this idle speculation that prompts the term "Educated Fools."

Krish55 Level 7 Oct 11, 2018

"Mind games" and "Thought experiments" and "what if" scenarios can be applied to real issues facing real people.

@johnprytz Do it , then!

Since the real issues facing real people are both numerous and varied, such applications should be left to the experts in each of those numerous and varied fields. There's no one mind game, thought experiment or what if scenario that will be applicable across the entire board.

These are the interesting things I think when doing mindless drudge work, like vacumming, dishes, laundry. Doesn't mean the what if game can't be applied to o real life - problem solving is a what game. geezzzzz

@johnprytz What real world problems is this mind game applicable to then?

It seems to me this is just a way of pinning blame for the world's problems on an external source, just like theists.

@johnprytz This answer is escapist, as is your original post!

Icolan: All I said was that mind games (in general), "thought experiments" (in general) and "what if" scenarios (in general) can be applied to real world problems. I said nothing about the Simulation Hypothesis in the here and now being applicable to world problems. But at least, unlike the God Hypothesis, the idea of virtual reality (as opposed to a supernatural reality) isn't actually causing any world problems.


For the sake of argument, let's say it's true - Life is just a simulation. Perhaps a video game played by actual beings. What do you do?

1) Do you commit suicide and take as many of the other characters with you as possible?

2) Do you stop participating in the ruse? Focus on indulgences and instant gratification?

3) Or do you play the role you've been given? Try to enjoy the game you're in?

OldWiseAss Level 6 Oct 11, 2018

Would you have a choice?

Exactly, would you have a choice in the matter? The software is what the software is in either a "puppet on a string" video game scenario, or in a "cast your fate to the wind" scenario.

@johnprytz @Piece2YourPuzzle

Ok then, philosophers. It's Tuesday afternoon at 4pm. You just realized you have no choice. What do you do now? How do you "cast your fate to the wind"?

Blow your brains out? Stop eating and starve? Or do you go ahead and have dinner, then hang out with family or friends?

The "Puppet on a string" simulation is akin to a video / computer game. The "Cast your fate to the wind" simulation is just doing the programming with whatever variables you want to include, then press "enter" or "run program" and see what happens to the virtual characters.

So, in either case, what does a simulated character in a video game do when faced with a no-win scenario? Game over!

@Piece2YourPuzzle If the programmer gave you a choice. Some of this comes up in the original 'Blade Runner' when Deckard realizes Rachael does not know she is a replicant. "How can it not know what it is?"


How about evidence that we are not in a simulation. All of the irrational numbers that cannot be computationally bound

jwd45244 Level 7 Oct 11, 2018

And how is that actual evidence that we're not in a simulation? Why couldn't computer / software programming allow for such a concept as irrational numbers?

@johnprytz Computers can do calculations with irrational numbers but they will always generate a rounding error because a computer cannot exactly represent an irrational number.

Icolan: Apples (concepts) and oranges (calculations). A computer program can't calculate Pi to the final decimal place, but a computer program can have as part and parcel to that programming the concept of Pi and what it means.


None of the evidence above actually proves something. They are just questions waiting to be answered.

beerhungry Level 7 Oct 11, 2018

And many of them have been answered, the only mystery about crop circles is why people think there's something mysterious about them.

And one answer to these and other unsolved questions could be software programming imposed from somewhere out there.

@johnprytz could be and could be not. Could be also something else, we of course imagine it as something we are familiar with. Just like our ancestors imagined men and women who provides rain, wind, fertility and so on


And thus the nature of our ultimate reality is one of those Big (or Ultimate) Questions. What is the actual answer?

@johnprytz I'm saying that only evidence supported ideas gives a better understanding of reality

Okay, so what actual evidence do you have that you are composed of electrons and quarks and not bits and bytes that simulate what you think are electrons and quarks? A video game character is just bits and bytes yet can 'die" or 'bleed' within that simulated landscape.

@johnprytz that's the problem with your theory, it's not falsifiable. You can use the same arguments for gods for instance. Another problem is the amount of empty space between particles and the vastness of our universe that seems to be not even the only one. There is no life found within reachable distance, that means it's also is mostly empty. Why such a waste of data and computing power?

It would be falsifiable if one could find something within life, the Universe and everything that can't be explained by the Simulation Hypothesis. I admit I can't think of anything but other bright sparks out there might be able to come up with something - one reason for throwing the idea in the first place.

The vastness of the Universe hardly needs much computational power. Planetariums do it all the time. A planetarium is nothing but a simulator!


It sound very much like high tech solipsism, doesn't it? A new twist on something quiet old does not make it original.

Tibert Level 6 Oct 11, 2018

I never claimed that this idea, the Simulation Hypothesis, was original with me. The relatively recent revival of this rests with Professor Nick Bostrom at Oxford University and you can easily Google and/or YouTube his name to get the good oil from someone who has a real professional handle on the subject.


If it is a simulation then who is to say we aren't a virus? Or other animals? Plants? Some are just worse viruses than others.

Does a virus know that it's a virus, or does it just act as if it has a purpose and tries to survive by "eating" and "spreading"? Sounds like humans to me as well as other "viruses" we know about that get into our own bodies. When we die in "natural disasters" is it the entity (Earth) that we are a virus on trying to save itself by killing the virus and cleansing itself?

What would that make the Earth then? Could every living thing be classified as a virus? Would the better classification be bacteria?

Any microbiologists or virologists in here?

Piece2YourPuzzle Level 7 Oct 10, 2018

We've been simulated as humans; viruses are simulated as viruses; animals are simulated as animals; plants are simulated as plants. This is not a difficult concept. Think of our video games - there is software for the human characters; software for the monsters or whatever the humans have to battle; software for the buildings and landscapes, etc.


What difference does it make? Our joys and sufferings are real. When climate change really hits, it won't feel like a simulation to us. Nor does it feel like a simulation when you lose a loved one now.
This is the sort of idle speculation that gives intellectuals a bad name. In "Gulliver's Travels," Johnathan Swift satirized the Great Minds pondering such abstruse idiocies in their Ivory Tower to display their supposedly superior intellects.
Come back down to earth and address our real problems here!

Krish55 Level 7 Oct 10, 2018

Whether we're in a really real reality, or in a simulated reality, has no bearing on joys and sufferings and the environment, etc. In the later case, it's part of the software programming. In the former case one could argue that it is all just pure determinism inherent in the laws, principles and relationships in the physical sciences.


While I don't actually believe this is the case, because there's really no good evidence for it, I find it just as likely as a magical sky daddy that created everything.

I also don't think any of this constitutes good evidence. Some might be considered interesting arguments, but that's about it.

The best argument that I've heard for this idea is much simpler.

"Do you think that human technology will ever be powerful enough to create a simulation where the characters within think they're real?" (I'd answer probably yes)

"If humans could do this, do you think someone would?" (I'd answer most definitely yes)

2 yes answers would most certainly make the possibility that we're a part of a simulation much more likely than actually being "real".

EddieDean Level 5 Oct 10, 2018

Your argument is basically the original argument presented by Oxford University's Nick Bostrom. I'm just trying to supplement that with some suggestive - not proof positive - evidence.

Now while you may not believe in the Simulation Hypothesis, you should admit that it is a plausible hypothesis.


I will admit that I don't think it's "impossible" but that certainly doesn't mean that it's plausible or even actually possible.

As plenty of others have stated here, it's just another god idea. The big difference is that there is no "divinely inspired" bible to make the idea contradictory to itself and easy to debunk.

So while it might be mildly entertaining to discuss and ponder about, it's meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

If it is not impossible then it is possible and thus hardly "meaningless" in the grand scheme of things. Now the Simulation Hypothesis might be a variation on the God / god idea, but it's a natural variation, not a supernatural variation.

@johnprytz you're mistaken. Just because I don't believe that something is impossible is not the same as me saying that I do believe that it is possible.

It's the same as me saying I don't believe in any gods, which isn't there same as me saying that I believe no gods exist.

If you don't believe that something is impossible, then by definition you have to admit (even if you don't believe) that it is possible. Logic 101.

@johnprytz sorry, that's wrong. Just because you don't reject one proposition doesn't necessarily mean that you accept the opposite.

If I flip a coin, and I ask you "do you believe that it's heads?" You would probably answer No, because you don't know. But if you answer No, that doesn't mean that you do in fact believe it's Tails. Get it?

Sorry to keep harping on this, but that's a sure fire way to trap someone into accepting a premis that isn't true. It's important to know these tricks that people use so that you don't fall into their traps.

No I don't "Get it". If you flip that coin I can BELIEVE it isn't going to be Heads but that, true enough, doesn't mean that I BELIEVE it is tails. The alternative is I don't know (and probably don't care). But I ACCEPT that it has to be one or the other because there are no other possibilities. You are totally confusing the word "believe" with "accept". Now I repeat, if you accept that if something isn't impossible, then you must of necessity accept that it is possible. There are no other alternatives. Logic 101.

I see that we're not talking about the same thing. First, we're having a discussion about something, we're not in a lab trying to actually price something.

Second, I stated my opinion that "while I don't think it's impossible, I don't necessarily believe it is actually possible. Which is my opinion about the subject.

You first stated "If it is not impossible, then it is possible" Which is a statement about the actual reality of things, which would require demonstrable evidence, not about anyone's opinion of the subject of a discussion. You're correct about that one. But the rest you went off the rails.

In any case it's really not with arguing about as we seem to have hit a wall.


It is what it is. Life is good.

jlynn37 Level 8 Oct 10, 2018

Life may be good some of the time, but probably not all of the time . Actually philosopher Thomas Hobbes said that the life of man was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short".


Thanks for bringing up this topic!
I find a few of these points to be be deeply convincing support for the possibility of a simulated universe. Wave-particle duality and the “granularity/resolution” of the universe, as well as the observer effect of quantum mechanics, all seem like obvious programming shortcuts. And I know a lot of people wave off the statistical justification, but I find it to be equally convincing.

On the other hand, things like crop circles, déjà vu are totally unconvincing as support to me. Like the mandela effect, déjà vu could easily be an outcome of our brains. And crop circles seem likely to be 100% frauds.

As for the fine tuning issue, it feels like the anthropic principle could explain that as well (we see a universe tuned to our existence because otherwise we wouldn’t exist to see the universe). Some of the other support offered seem to be no more than coincidence. If we’re going to postulate a possible creator (and really, aren’t we?) I’d rather not base it on coincidence

I’m not familiar with Prof. Gates, and evidence from the evidence density of the universe. I’ll have to look into those. And I’ve never quite grasped what a holographic universe is supposed to be. I guess more digging is called for there, as well. All in all, I think the simulated universe is a fascinating possibility.

Ribarnica Level 4 Oct 10, 2018

The Simulation Hypothesis is indeed a fascinating possibility. I'll be exploring this in greater detail in the weeks and months ahead.

@johnprytz And that alone is enough reason to block you. Thanks for the warning!


Very interesting and pretty impressive list of reasons we could be in a simulation. If we are what possibliities might exist?

david7wk Level 6 Oct 10, 2018

My mind leaps to the idea that the owners might decide that they're done with this simulation and turn it off / erase it.

An actual virtually software generated afterlife comes to mind.


Unlike many of the others, I do not find this suggestion preposterous. However, like many of the others, I don't feel it worthy of a great deal of my free time to think about extensively.

I have my doubts that if it IS true, it is discoverable truth. However, of all the arguments you have presented above, the argument from pixellation is the only one I find compelling. In particular, quantum physics (if it is indeed a correct model of our existence) suggests that there is a lower bound to our degree of resolution, something that isn't true of most fractal objects, which we observe most natural dynamic systems to be.

Of course, if "all this" is simulated, it begs the question of whether our simulator is itself simulated. My feeling is, is that that in and of itself might be falsifiable by us attempting to create simulations ourselves with a high degree of replication of our reality and finding that the actual resolution limit is lower than it should theoretically be (loss of information due to imperfect replication). We won't know the answer to this thought-experiment until we know more about how our (real or simulated) universe actually works.

Some of your arguments ascribe a certain "intent" to the simulator(s?)-there is no reason to think the simulation was created by human-like entities, although it is one possibility. I'm also unsure as to why our known universe is so vast with regards to ourselves, and yet there aren't more "NPC's" we've run into.

It's true that a complex simulation might be generated with fairly efficient code, I think Rule 110 is a good example of that.

Unless there is the possibility that we could somehow communicate "outside the universe", the relevance of the truth of this conjecture remains dubious. Perhaps, though, it might be of some benefit to our own attempts to develop AI, and understanding the nature of consciousness. Those are pretty big "if"s though.

Deveno Level 7 Dec 3, 2018

"Of course, if "all this" is simulated, it begs the question of whether our simulator is itself simulated."

REPLY: Ultimately at the apex there has to be a really real reality. How many levels of simulations are possible I don't know but it would have to be finite since the apex really real reality computer(s) have to have enough capacity to support all of the simulation within a simulation within a simulation, etc. At some point that capacity will be at saturation point.

"Some of your arguments ascribe a certain "intent" to the simulator(s?)-there is no reason to think the simulation was created by human-like entities, although it is one possibility."

REPLY: We wouldn't have a clue about the nature of who / what simulated us than the virtual reality characters we create could know about who - us humans - created them.


If you are going to claim you are posting "evidence" , then post some fucking evidence, not "suggestive evidence", whatever the hell that is.

For me, Occam's Razor tells me we are living in reality. And I'm not presenting that as "evidence", but as argument.

John_Tyrrell Level 7 Nov 11, 2018

Suggestive evidence means exactly what it says. It is evidence that suggests that the hypothesis could be reality. In other words, the hypothesis has to be taken seriously. It's like someone who has the motive, means and opportunity to commit that murder only there's no physical evidence to yet link that person to the crime. The evidence is suggestive - not conclusive.

Further, Occam's Razor is not a hard-and-fast physical law. It too is just something that is suggestive when it comes to choosing between two or more possibilities.

However, as things stand, there is absolutely no possible way you can distinguish virtual reality (i.e. - you're just bits and bytes) from really real reality (i.e. - you are just quarks and electrons). If you can give some sort of actual evidence of something that only really real reality can explain but virtual reality cannot, then please let fly so I can cross the Simulation Hypothesis off of my list. Thanks.

@johnprytz Then John - I assume one, if not all, of the creator deities is still on your list of possibilities. As is the possibility the entire universe was created just as I put the period on this sentence.

In the end, a virtual reality requires a "higher" reality (and the possibility of an endless chain of higher realities) in which entities exist who created our virtual reality. It's a bigger stretch for me than just proposing some goddess who magically did it all.

There are endless possibilities as alternatives to the reality we live in. It works best for me smile009.gif to limit myself to just the one I experience directly.

Absolutely any and all experiences that you have ever experienced have been experienced 100% between your ears. Absolutely everything. Your mind dictates to you what reality is. So, how can you actually distinguish between being fed stimuli (that brain-in-a-vat scenario) and receiving stimuli (via Mother Nature)?

So why go with the Simulation Hypothesis? Because within the really real reality (Mother Nature's reality), there can exist hundreds, hundreds of thousands, hundreds of millions of separate and apart virtual realities. Place your bets!

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