The Instigator
Wylted
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
tejretics
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

There is most likely an intelligent creator of the universe

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
tejretics
Voting Style: Judge Point System: Select Winner
Started: 12/28/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,742 times Debate No: 84179
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (120)
Votes (3)

 

Wylted

Pro

Okay Tejretics chose these judges for the most part, I just agreed.

I finally found time to put some effort and energy into debating. I'm sick of seeing the God debates and even sicker of seeing people who actually specialize in nothing but God debates. With that being said, one of you guys with no life and way too much free time who spend all day debating the same topic over and over are welcome to apply in the comments. I'll accept the best opponents, from those who specialize in this type of debate.

First round is acceptance

Okay Tejretics is getting the debate, he is the most challenging opponent and has surpassed me in ELO, sole on his God exists debates, which annoys me. So let's start off

Edit: changed to choose winner and 4 rounds
tejretics

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Wylted

Pro

Bostrom's Trilemma

I will be arguing that we are most likely in an artificially created universe, and we'll be examining 3 possibilities. These possibilities summarized by Nick Bostrom in the following way;

"A technologically mature "posthuman" civilization would have enormous computing power. Based on this empirical fact, the simulation argument shows that at least one of the following propositions is true:
1.The fraction of human-level civilizations that reach a posthuman stage is very close to zero;
2.The fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running ancestor-simulations is very close to zero;
3.The fraction of all people with our kind of experiences that are living in a simulation is very close to one.
If (1) is true, then we will almost certainly go extinct before reaching posthumanity. If (2) is true, then there must be a strong convergence among the courses of advanced civilizations so that virtually none contains any relatively wealthy individuals who desire to run ancestor-simulations and are free to do so. If (3) is true, then we almost certainly live in an ancestor simulation."
http://www.simulation-argument.com...

I'll be explaining why there is atleast a 51% possibility(though probably closer to 100%) that we are living in an ancestor simulation.

The Technological limits of computation

This section is a summary of a portion of Bostrom's argument found under the section of the same name, in the following link http://www.simulation-argument.com... (sources provided in the link)

Many scientists believe the stage where we can run ancestor simulations is merely a few decades away at most, but the beauty of this theory is that it doesn't have to be close. If it takes 100,000 years before we achieve the ability to create these simulations than we are still most likely living in an ancestor simulation. To ponder whether we will have the ability to create ancestor simulations, we'll use our current understandings of what is possible (though it's laughable to not think we'll continue to discover things that give us even greater abilities with technology.

"Eric Drexler has outlined a design for a system the size of a sugar cube (excluding cooling and power supply) that would perform 10 to the power of 21 instructions per second.[3] Another author gives a rough estimate of 10 to the power of 42 operations per second for a computer with a mass on order of a large planet.[4] (If we could create quantum computers, or learn to build computers out of nuclear matter or plasma, we could push closer to the theoretical limits. Seth Lloyd calculates an upper bound for a 1 kg computer of 5*10 to the power of 50 logical operations per second carried out on ~10 to the power of 31 bits.[5] However, it suffices for our purposes to use the more conservative estimate that presupposes only currently known design-principles.)"

Operations in the human brain based on the number synapsids can be calculated to be 10 to the power of 16. We need not stimulate the entire universe or things down to the quantum level either, the simulation can wait until something is being viewed through a telescope or a microscope before simulating a visual representation of what's being looked at."While it is not possible to get a very exact estimate of the cost of a realistic simulation of human history, we can use ~1033 - 1036 operations as a rough estimate[10]. As we gain more experience with virtual reality, we will get a better grasp of the computational requirements for making such worlds appear realistic to their visitors. But in any case, even if our estimate is off by several orders of magnitude, this does not matter much for our argument. We noted that a rough approximation of the computational power of a planetary-mass computer is 1042 operations per second, and that assumes only already known nanotechnological designs, which are probably far from optimal. A single such a computer could simulate the entire mental history of humankind (call this an ancestor-simulation) by using less than one millionth of its processing power for one second."

Post human civilizations would have plenty of resources to create this sort of simulation easily, and this is assuming everyone is a sentient being when it would be easy to make most of them philosophical zombies, without anybody knowing the difference.

Posthuman Motivations

The second scenario of the trilemma is one where there isn't much interest in creating an ancestor simulation. This scenario is even less likely than the first scenario. This would mean that on a planet of billions of people, not a single wealthy person or any significant amount of less than wealthy people would be the least bit interested in creating an ancestor simulation. This also goes against our human nature. We create simulations right now to learn more about our world. We simulate parts of the brain in a computer to learn more about it, we've simulated the Big Bang to the best of our ability. We've simulated car accidents. We simulate portions of our world to better understand it. There is no indication that humans will all of a sudden not want to better understand their world and in particular their history. Not that that is the only driving factor for wanting to simulate worlds. The whole sim city gaming franchise plays to our desires to wanna play God by being a very crude simulator of worlds. Even if we don't want to better understand our world for some reason, our desire to play games, to play God, will certainly not go away.

Other reasons why a Posthuman civilization wouldn't want to create a simulated world are far less likely. We'd have to assume that the economy might be so bad that almost nobody and no group of people had the means to create a simulated universe. Or we'd have to assume that some laws would be created to prevent a simulated universe scenario, but there is no sign that anybody views anything like this as unethical. We seem to think of human life as a good thing, and certainly creating more human life, if even in a simulated environment would be seen as good, in that sense.

We are most certainly living in a simulated universe

" It may be possible for simulated civilizations to become posthuman. They may then run their own ancestor-simulations on powerful computers they build in their simulated universe. Such computers would be "virtual machines", a familiar concept in computer science. (Java script web-applets, for instance, run on a virtual machine " a simulated computer " inside your desktop.) Virtual machines can be stacked: it"s possible to simulate a machine simulating another machine, and so on, in arbitrarily many steps of iteration. If we do go on to create our own ancestor-simulations, this would be strong evidence against (1) and (2), and we would therefore have to conclude that we live in a simulation. Moreover, we would have to suspect that the posthumans running our simulation are themselves simulated beings; and their creators, in turn, may also be simulated beings.
Reality may thus contain many levels. Even if it is necessary for the hierarchy to bottom out at some stage " the metaphysical status of this claim is somewhat obscure " there may be room for a large number of levels of reality, and the number could be increasing over time."
http://www.simulation-argument.com...

When you consider the fact that stacked civilizations could exist, and that a society could create several simulated universes, each simulated universe having stacked simulated universes, we have to assume we're most likely simulations. A real universe resembling our own with several advanced societies all with multiple simulated universes, and each one being stacked means that real people are probably vastly outnumbered by simulated people by perhaps 100 to 1. It's not even worth considering the fact we're not simulated seeing as how the likelihood of that is so small.

Indicators of a Simulated Universe

Even without these additional indicators mentioned, the argument stands on it's own. These indicators just help us to know that the universe is in fact simulated.

1."Dr. James Gates says that within super-symmetrical equations, which is part of string theory, he"s found something that very much resembles computer code. When he looked into these equations, he found computer code invented by Claude Shannon in the 1940s. Shannon was a mathematician who founded digital computer and digital circuit design theory in 1937." http://www.toptenz.net...

2.The universe also looks to be a hologram according to many physicists. It appears that we're actually just a 3 dime soak representation of a 2 dimensional universe.

3. "According to Rich Terrile, the director of the Center for Evolutionary Computation and Automated Design at NASA"s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the proof that we"re living in a simulation is that the universe is made of pixels." something you'd very much expect to find in a simulated universe

4. Remember when I talked about how computers could use a lot less memory if they only simulated things when you looked at them. Perhaps when you look at an atom it is simulated so you can observe it an be none the wiser, that you were in a simulation? Well evidence that this is taking place is abundant. Matter most definitely does act different when being observed.

the famous double slit experiment proves that matter does in fact act different when observed. When not observed matter acts more like a wave and particles combined, but while being observed it just acts like particles. http://highexistence.com...

There is a ton of evidence that the universe is a simulation and thus created. Please vote pro
tejretics

Con

I’d like to begin with a note on burdens. The resolution is a fact claim, since it presents a hypothesis of what is true, rather than what should be. As such, it’s up to Pro to prove it true. It isn’t a burden of persuasion, it’s a burden of proof. And the greater burden rests with Pro. If I refute Pro’s arguments, vote Con by default.

Pro’s argument defends what is known as the "simulation hypothesis," which is the idea that the universe is a simulation, and different theories have different views as to what the simulation is. It seems that Pro defends that the universe is a computer simulation. How does that entail an intelligent creator? Pro will probably argue that for a computational system to exist, there has to be an intelligent cause. But there’s no reason to suppose that, except that our own worlds seem like that. There’s no way of knowing the details of the world where the computer exists, and the laws of science as we know it don’t necessarily apply in that other world. Pro doesn’t give an indicator of how a law of causality applies in such a world, or if that world experiences linear time. The computer could be self-sustaining, which means nothing caused the computer. Pro doesn’t give a reason for the computer being caused by a creator with intelligence similar to a human’s. Pro does say that the limits of computation can only be escaped by intelligence, but why should that apply outside the universe? It’s impossible for humans to even process what’s outside the universe, and it’s a nonsensical conclusion that since ancestor simulations would require an intelligent creator in our world, it would in the great computer’s world. Vote Con right there, since Pro doesn’t link his argument to the resolution.

Pro doesn’t even give a reason to think a post-human civilization exists. Just because *we* can become post-human doesn’t mean someone else already has. Merely possibility doesn’t entail the existence of such a civilization. There’s no real reason to conclude that there is some post-human civilization out there. The posthuman motivations argument is nonsense. Human nature doesn’t need to apply to posthuman civilizations. Additionally, it’s possible that the *idea* never arose to the posthuman civilization in question. It’s equally probable that nobody has the motivation to do it, because there’s no indicator to suggest that posthuman motivations should be measured like human motivations.

Furthermore, Bostrom’s trilemma doesn’t show that if the third condition is true, we live in a simulation. Let me quote the third condition: "The fraction of all people with our kind of experiences that are living in a simulation is very close to one." So what if this is true? How does that entail we’re likely living in a simulation? Merely because there are many people in a simulation, it doesn’t entail we’re in a simulation. Additionally, Pro confuses possibility with probability -- a possible world is not the actual world, so the possibility that there are many with "our kind of experiences" living in a simulation. Pro presumes the principle of indifference, which states that when there’s no independent reason to believe one proposition over another, the probability that the proposition is true is equal to the number of ways it could turn out to be true divided by the total number of possible outcomes. [1]

Bostrom’s assertion that the fraction of people with our kind of experiences living in a simulation is close to one is false. Multiple critics argue that the assertion is based on a miscalculation. Pro doesn’t show that Bostrom’s calculation is likely true. In fact, Pro’s entire case relies on appealing to Bostrom’s authority. Pro doesn’t even defend the paper except for the listing of indicators. Bostrom’s calculation is based on “the number of simulations that are run (assuming that they are run) times the number of people in each simulation (again, assuming that these simulations are run) times the probability that these simulations are run.” [2] The paper argues that Bostrom counts our own world while calculating the probability, his logic being we will be able to run simulations as well. But the principle of indifference here only would hold to calculations not including the simulations we create in an attempt to prove point 3. So the fraction is significantly reduced, and isn’t close to one. [2] Pro says, "When you consider the fact that stacked civilizations could exist, and that a society could create several simulated universes, each simulated universe having stacked simulated universes, we have to assume we're most likely simulations." Why is this true? This seems like a bare assertion. Merely that stacked civilizations could exist doesn’t mean they do.

Bostrom’s equation relies on an unmentioned assumption. It assumes that the population of a simulated universe would be the same as the population of a posthuman one. There’s no reason to believe that. There’s no evidence of that. Most critics agree that it was likely a mistake on Bostrom’s part to assume that during the calculation.

Another criticism says that Bostrom exaggerated the abilities of computation. The level of computation required would have to create multiple AI’s with variant personalities, various non-intelligent simulations that still respond to stimuli, and varying degrees of "intelligence," including a level of intelligence to become posthuman. Computation is the motion of syntax (symbols). Syntax isn’t sufficient for a level of semantics high enough to form new posthumans, humans, and such variant degrees of intelligence. For instance, let’s say a man is in a room. He only knows English. He is instructed by a book that if he comes in contact with Chinese symbols, he must respond in a certain way. For instance, if he comes in contact with a certain Chinese symbol A, he must respond with B, so whenever a message that says A comes, he responds with B. That is fundamentally computation. He doesn’t have actual understanding of the language. [3]

Bostrom makes multiple assumptions when he says computation can produce a simulated reality similar to our own. He assumes that (a) we only need to simulate down to the level of atoms and photons, (b) time-wise, we need to simulate only down to the level of basic chemical reactions, which would only take one femtosecond to process, and (c) gravity does not need to be simulated. All these assumptions are false. The first assumption is false because scientists can observe quark-level interactions. The second is false because the current lower-bound for chemical interactions is as small as Planck-time. The third isn’t even justified, and is nonsensical. [4]

Finally, let me address the indicators of a simulated reality.

(1) First, string theory is nonsense. There's no actual reason to believe that string theory is even true. In fact, most current evidence we have suggests that string theory is false. The purpose of bringing a new theory of physics is to explain something which hasn't been explained by the previous model. But the Lambda-CDM model explains everything, and even explains it better than string theory. So super-symmetrical equations shouldn't be taken into consideration as representative of the actual structure of the universe. Second, it merely resembles computer code, because it resembles "Adinkra symbols." This led Professor Gates to make references to computer code, which was probably exaggerated by the media.

(2) Merely because the universe looks like a hologram doesn't entail it is one. Furthermore, that research was only based on possibility, not on probability. It merely suggested the possibility of a two-dimensional universe.

(3) There's no actual evidence that the universe is made of pixels. It is merely a suggestion by the NASA scientist in question. It's a fallacy of appeal to authority. The idea hasn't hit peer-reviewed journals, and, as such, there's no actual study to prove this point. Pro doesn't actually justify the claim except appealing to Terrile's authority.

(4) I really don't see how this relates to the resolution, outside of a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Pro has a very vague link between the double-slit experiment and the simulation argument. He says a computer could save memory by simulating something while actually having something else. And the universe seems to have particles that behave in a certain way when observed. This doesn't justify probability, and commits a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

I've given multiple reasons to vote Con. None of the arguments are relevant, since there's no reason to think a computer would even need to be "created" sans the universe by someone intelligent. All the supposed "indicators" fail. Bostrom’s equation has multiple assumptions, all of which are easily challenged. Pro’s entire argument relies on the authority of Bostrom, and the study in question fails for multiple reasons. For all those reasons, vote Con.

Sources

1. http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk...

2. http://web.stanford.edu...

3. John Searle, "Minds, Brains, and Science"

4. http://users.digitalkingdom.org...

Debate Round No. 2
Wylted

Pro

BOP

In round 2 I mentioned my interpretation of the resolution's meaning is that I have to prove that there is more than a 50% chance that the universe has an intelligent creator. My opponent has not objected to that view of the resolution in his argument. However he did mention I have more BOP. That's true even if it's just 1 millionth of a percent over 50. By default my opponent has to prove atleast a 50% likelihood that An intelligent creator doesn't exist. Given the default position judges should have assigning a 50% probability to each side, it should be next to impossible for my opponent to win this debate without offering some sort of positive argumentation.

Occam's Razor

Assumptions are unavoidable. My opponent makes a big to do about assuming things, but there is no way to get around assumptions. We just have to do our best to assign probabilities to assumptions and go with the assumptions that are most likely.

You might ask, how do we determine which assumption is more probable. It's simple, Occam's Razor. "Occam"s razor posits that among a set of explanations, the one with least number of assumptions is a priori most likely" http://www.debate.org...

As humans we do have a limited amount of knowledge, so assumptions are necessary. We have to look at what we know about our world (our knowledge base), to know what is most likely the case in other worlds. In this universe intelligent beings create computers. In some other universe maybe they randomly pop up, but given what we know about our universe and the fact that some things are likely universally true, Occam's Razor tells us that most likely artificial universes are created by intelligent beings of some sort.

It is not enough for my opponent to come up with alternate theories. He has to explain why these theories are more likely to be true than the ones I propose. He states that maybe simulated universes randomly happen for example, but never explains why a simulated universe randomly popping up is more likely or even equally as likely as simulations being created by intelligent species.

There is more wrong with that particular statement as well. Even if the seed universe was created by a random simulation, the fact that intelligent operators can create simulated universes, should still lead us to believe we're most likely in a simulated universe create by an intelligent operator.

The Hypothesis

My opponents are kinda all over the place, the Occam's razor argument deals with most of his responses, but I'll still address some points directly.

Pro doesn"t even give a reason to think a post-human civilization exists. Just because *we* can become post-human doesn"t mean someone else already has. Merely possibility doesn"t entail the existence of such a civilization.

Again, my opponent fails to understand the concept of Occam's razor. If humans are to reach a post human state and create a simulated universe, then we must consider the possibility that we ourselves are in a simulated universe. Is it possible that we can reach a post human phase but not create a simulated universe? Sure, but merely stating the opposite of what I said is possible, isn't enough. He must show that it is unlikely that a post human civilization would create a simulated universe, and given what we know about ourselves, it's unlikely that nobody would be interested in creating a simulated universe, that replicates ours. As I pointed out earlier we already create simulated universes and brains in a computer to a certain degree. Computer scientists have replicated the Big Bang and parts of the human brain, as well as accidents and numerous other things. It's nonsense to think a post human civilization would randomly decide to stop doing these things. Like my opponent said, it's possible that a post human civilization won't be interested in simulated universes, but if we look at Occam's razor it's unlikely. My opponent has never addressed why he thinks post human civilizations are more likely to not replicate universes, than to replicate them. Occam's razor tells us that, we'll most likely simulate universes when we achieve the capability, which will force us to consider the possibility we are in a simulated universe. Remember this debate is only about doing our best to determine if something is over 50% likely, even if by 1/10000000 of a percentage point higher than that.

"Pro says, "When you consider the fact that stacked civilizations could exist, and that a society could create several simulated universes, each simulated universe having stacked simulated universes, we have to assume we're most likely simulations." Why is this true? This seems like a bare assertion. Merely that stacked civilizations could exist doesn"t mean they do."

If we can create an ancestor civilization that also reaches a post human phase, they in turn would most likely create an ancestor simulation. This is just common sense. The more ancestor simulations created the reach a post human phase, the more likely they are to create an ancestor simulation. My opponent is sitting back merely stating that other things are possible, but other things being possible isn't what the debate is about, it's about what is most likely, and since it is most likely that we will reach a post human phase and create an ancestor simulation that also reaches the phase and in turn creates one or more ancestor simulations, it means we're most likely an ancestor simulation. My opponent is right that it's possible stacked civilizations don't exist, but this is not about proving they do, nor is this about proving something has enough evidence to defeat the default position. This is about proving what is most likely, what is more than 50% true given the facts we have access to.

"Bostrom"s equation relies on an unmentioned assumption. It assumes that the population of a simulated universe would be the same as the population of a posthuman one. There"s no reason to believe that. There"s no evidence of that. Most critics agree that it was likely a mistake on Bostrom"s part to assume that during the calculation."

It's not really a mistake. When dealing with these sorts of problems assumptions need to be made. There is no avoiding it. He more than likely evenly attributed likelihood to populations being bigger, smaller and the same size equally, and it evens out. It seems pointless to complicate matters by adding those figures in. Given that most of these simulated universes are ancestor simulations, you'd expect the populations to remain roughly equal to them anyway.

That might be the wrong way to look at it anyway. This is not about whether we as individuals are most likely living in a simulated universe. The debate is about an intelligent creator, so this is about whether this universe is most likely simulated. Maybe the universe only has a few simulated beings and the rest are philosophical zombies, maybe we're all philosophical zombies, maybe real humans outnumber simulated humans 500 to 1. However it doesn't matter if we are outnumbered by real humans. It's about whether this universe has a more than 50% chance of being a simulation. If the multiple real world has 400 billion people, but two stacked civilizations have a combined 10 billion people, this universe is most likely created by an intelligent creator. As individuals we'd most likely be real, but when looking at the total number of universes, this universe would most likely be simulated.

"Bostrom makes multiple assumptions when he says computation can produce a simulated reality similar to our own. He assumes that (a) we only need to simulate down to the level of atoms and photons, (b) time-wise, we need to simulate only down to the level of basic chemical reactions, which would only take one femtosecond to process, and (c) gravity does not need to be simulated. All these assumptions are false. The first assumption is false because scientists can observe quark-level interactions. The second is false because the current lower-bound for chemical interactions is as small as Planck-time. The third isn"t even justified, and is nonsensical."

Bostrom and I have already explained this. For example the quark level interactions only need to be simulated when observed. The double slit experiment actually hints that this is what's taking place since matter seems to do different things when directly observed. Here is Bostrom explaining it.

"The assumption that a universe not simulated to a quantum degree of accuracy can be immediately exposed is unfounded.The original paper notes that even an atomic-scale simulation (much less a fully accurate quantum simulation) of the inside of your desk is not needed, and that extremely crude resolution would suffice for distant astronomical objects." If you train an STM on a piece of your desk, then you could distinguish atomic-scale feature, and these would then have to be added to the simulation. "But this could be done on an ad hoc basis: wherever somebody is paying attention, the requisite detail could be created." Moreover, if through some bug in the simulation, somebody were to notice an anomaly, their brains could be edited afterwards to remove the memory (or the whole simulation could be rerun from some cached earlier state in a way that avoids the problem)." http://www.simulation-argument.com...

Conclusion/wrap up

My opponent really doesn't elaborate on some arguments enough, so I can't and need not respond to some of them. For instance the Chinese room argument he used isn't really explained. However pretty much everything he said can be dispelled with using Occam's razor. He keeps saying that there is a possibility my premises are wrong, but he never explains how they are most likely wrong, and Occam's razor shows they're likely right.
tejretics

Con

Burdens

The burden of proof is on Pro. Pro concedes that, but still holds that it’s impossible for me to win unless I present offensive arguments. That’s nonsensical. First, the purpose of the burden of proof is to presume the position of the side that doesn’t have the burden of proof. Second, Pro says that judges must presume a 50% probability for each side, but that’s false, because Pro carries the greater burden. As such, judges must presume my side, because my side isn’t that the universe is not a simulation - it is both the former, and the agnostic position. I’ve shown that the resolution is a fact-claim, and, therefore, Pro has the burden of proof, to prove that it is likely that the universe was intelligently created. My burden is only to refute Pro’s arguments and uphold the default position. But I’ve actually done more than that - using my argument from the limits of computation, I’ve shown that the universe is not a simulation due to lack of computational power.

Pro argues that Occam’s razor dictates his position as more likely. That argument is nonsense, for many reasons. I don’t need to come up with an alternate theory at all. That’s because a simulation itself is an additional assumption to the default position. As I’ve established, the burden of proof is on Pro, which means judges presume Con. Furthermore, I didn’t actually defend the idea of the computer emerging without a cause. Pro is shifting the burden of proof. I don’t need to prove that it’s more likely for the computer to be uncaused; Pro must prove that it’s likely the computer had a cause. Pro has the burden to show that there is likely an intelligent creator of the universe. So Pro must prove that the computer on which the simulation exists had an intelligent creator.

Pro frequently confuses the burdens. The burdens are not shared. If the debate is tied on arguments, judges must vote Con. Judges must presume Con, because the burden of proof is on Pro. Pro doesn’t show that Occam’s razor dictates we presume Pro. I don’t have to argue that my position is more likely correct, or that Pro’s position is more likely false. That’s not my position at all. All I need to do is prove that the default position is to be maintained, and Pro fails to demonstrate the resolution.

Relevance

Pro drops relevance except with Occam’s razor. I argued that even if the universe was a simulation, there’s no reason to believe that the computer that generates the simulation was created by an intelligent being, because sans the universe, our perceptions of causation don’t necessarily hold. Pro claims that I must prove the probability of an uncaused computer, but I don’t. The burden is on Pro. It’s up to Pro to prove the probability of a caused computer, or we presume an agnostic position. Under an agnostic position, Pro hasn’t shown how his argument is relevant to the resolution, so judges vote Con.

Even under Occam’s razor, an uncaused computer is more likely. Let’s list the assumptions of the two sides. Pro presumes (a) a computer with the simulation of the universe, and (b) an intelligent creator of the computer. The relevance argument only needs to presume (a), so it’s more likely that the argument is irrelevant. Vote Con because Pro doesn’t link his argument to the resolution.

Simulation Hypothesis

(1) Limits of computation

Pro drops the Chinese room argument, except to say that I don’t sufficiently explain it. This assertion isn’t justified. It was clearly explained by me. Let’s say we lock a man who only knows English in a room. He finds a paper in the room that says for him to be released, he needs to respond to certain Chinese symbols with other symbols. For instance, for the symbol A, he needs to respond with symbol B. A key is provided for him. And he would do it. But that doesn’t mean he actually understands Chinese. Computation works the same way. For a simulation like our world to be created, we would have to realize our own existence, and be self-aware. But computers can’t generate self-awareness or be self-aware, because they communicate in the same way the man in the room does - he doesn’t know Chinese, but he responds to some Chinese words with other Chinese ones.

Pro responds to my argument regarding Bostrom’s three assumptions (size of particles, duration, gravity) with a single card from Bostrom that only refutes the argument from quark-level interactions. He drops duration and gravity. Bostrom doesn’t show that gravity doesn’t have to be simulated, and neither does Pro. Occam’s razor would suggest that gravity does need to be simulated, since gravitational force doesn’t just exist contingent to itself.

This argument in itself is sufficient reason to vote Con. Even without the second part, the Chinese room argument entirely refutes the idea that computation is powerful enough to generate such a simulation. I’ve proven that computation isn’t that powerful, and Bostrom exaggerates how powerful computation is. If a simulated universe is impossible, there’s no question of Occam’s razor and probability. Judges must, on account of this, vote Con.

(2) Stacked civilizations

Pro says that since humans can become posthuman, it’s possible that a posthuman civilization already exists. But since Pro carries the burden, he must prove that it’s probable that a posthuman civilization exists. He appeals to Occam’s razor, but doesn’t show that Occam’s razor entails the likelihood of a posthuman civilization’s existence. The razor talks about invoking assumptions, and less posthuman civilizations invokes lesser assumptions than more of them. Pro doesn’t show how Occam’s razor would entail that since humans can become a posthuman civilization, one already exists. Pro keeps confusing probability and possibility. Even if it’s possible, Pro doesn’t show the probability of a posthuman civilization existing. The existence of posthumans is an assumption within all of Pro’s arguments for an intelligent creator, and that assumption hasn’t been justified as probable.

Furthermore, there’s no reason to believe we aren’t the first civilization that’s going to become posthuman. The axiom that "[w]hen you consider the fact that stacked civilizations could exist, and that a society could create several simulated universes, each simulated universe having stacked simulated universes, we have to assume we're most likely simulations" isn’t justified by Pro at all. Pro merely argues that since there will be a constant regress of ancestor simulations, it’s best to presume we’re also an ancestor simulation. That’s a bare assertion.

Pro keeps talking about how the debate is about proving which is the "most likely" situation, and keeps appealing to Occam’s razor, but doesn’t actually show that his advocacy is most likely. He doesn’t argue for it at all outside of nonsense bare assertions and multiple assumptions.

(3) Population

Pro defends against the population assumption weakly. He says all arguments have assumptions, and Bostrom probably calculated it based on certain figures. That’s all nonsense. The assumption in question is critical to Bostrom’s argument. Bostrom’s formula attempts to prove that posthuman civilizations would create a certain X number of simulations, and, based on that, ours is likely to be one of them. So, even assuming such a civilization exists, a certain X number of simulations would have to be achieved for Bostrom’s formula to accurately show the probability. Bostrom’s calculation of that variable X is flawed because of his determination of posthuman population.

Pro is probably going to argue something about "his burden only to prove that there’s slightly more than 50% probability of a simulation," or something similar. But that isn’t an adequate response, since it’s Pro’s burden to at least prove that, and that can’t be proven without knowing the population of posthuman civilizations. If nothing is proven, vote Con. It’s impossible to prove even the "slightly over 50%" likelihood that the universe is a simulation without knowing posthuman populations.

(4) Indicators of the hypothesis

Pro entirely drops all the indicators of the hypothesis. Therefore, it’s a concession by omission.

Conclusion

The burden is on Pro to prove that there’s most likely an intelligent creator of the universe. Judges assume a 50% probability of the resolution being true, and since the resolution is a fact claim, judges must presume Con. If Pro fails to prove the likelihood of the resolution, then vote Con. And Pro has failed to prove the resolution as likely true. The argument is irrelevant to the resolution, since a simulated reality doesn’t entail a creator. Pro’s appeal to Occam’s razor fails because it’s actually an additional assumption for an intelligent creator. Pro frequently misunderstands Occam’s razor and fails to properly apply it in probability.

I’ve shown that Bostrom exaggerates computational power, and computation alone cannot create an ancestor simulation. Pro doesn’t show that "posthumans" even exist, and that the possibility of us becoming posthuman entails that there was probably a posthuman civilization that created us. Pro virtually drops the population argument, and it’s impossible to know if the simulation hypothesis is true without knowing posthuman populations.

For all these reasons, vote Con.

Debate Round No. 3
Wylted

Pro

Wylted forfeited this round.
tejretics

Con

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
120 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mhykiel 1 year ago
Mhykiel
If we were making a simulation we would not have to make it detailed enough to fool us. What ever simulated life we populate the simulation with will only know one reality. They would be automatically convinced. This being said I guess the the level of resolution needed would only need to be a level to meet what objective we were testing. Say this posthuman civilization is of beings in a universe of 4 dimensions. Then they create a simulation that populate with us. We could do the same if we built a dimension that only had 2, like flat land. And we have done this with current technology simulating flat worms.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
My arguments show that we're most likely to achieve abposthuman society, which was never contested
Posted by n7 1 year ago
n7
You dealt with the motivations of a posthuman civilization. Not the existence of one. The argument only applies if we reach that state, that way we know there can exist a posthuman society. When taking this into account, some argue that the probability that we are in a simulation is only 1 in 5.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
How is my argument so misconstrued? Every objection has been answered. Such as the question "how do we know a post human world exists?" we're dealing with probabilities here. Whatever, I don't care.
Posted by triangle.128k 1 year ago
triangle.128k
Are you playing devil's advocate wylted?
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
Thanks a lot for the feedback- especially the closing summary one, that's something I should do
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
cont'd

The assertion Wylted made ("When you consider the fact that stacked civilizations could exist, and that a society could create several simulated universes, each simulated universe having stacked simulated universes, we have to assume we're most likely simulations") doesn"t make sense. So what if stacked civilizations can exist, and if a society can create many simulated universes? That doesn"t even imply that we were created. Wylted says, "If we can create an ancestor civilization that also reaches a post human phase, they in turn would most likely create an ancestor simulation. This is just common sense. The more ancestor simulations created the reach a post human phase, the more likely they are to create an ancestor simulation." This doesn"t entail that there was one before us. There"s no calculation to suggest that we aren"t the first in the regression, that the sans-universe posthuman motivations would be similar to ours, and so forth.

The posthuman existence point was hardly even rebutted. Like, Wylted assumed there"s "someone" to create a simulation, and confuses the conditions in our world with one sans the universe as we know it.

Bostrom"s argument had *so many* assumptions that I listed, e.g. populations, limits of computation, etc. that Wylted hardly even addressed. And there"s the relevance point...
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
@Raisor

Thanks for the vote. I have a few queries:

On the burdens issue--I basically agreed with Wylted's standard, but Wylted was drawing conclusions from it that didn't follow, e.g. my needing a positive case. Wylted says, "Given the default position judges should have assigning a 50% probability to each side, it should be next to impossible for my opponent to win this debate without offering some sort of positive argumentation." But judges mustn't assign 50% probability *to each side,* rather to each *position* on the issue of simulations, which means judges must presume my side. So Wylted had an inconsistent interpretation of the burdens that I challenged, though I get that I was pretty vague on that.

I"m curious as to where I "stated alternate possibilities without likelihoods." Yes, I didn"t point out likelihoods, but the point is, *neither did Wylted.* Because Wylted didn"t start on likelihoods in R2. He made multiple unjustified assumptions. It"s not up to me to show that these assumptions are likely not true; I"m not even obligated to argue probability there. Wylted made assumptions without showing that they were probable, so my alternatives don"t need probability, only that Wylted was establishing false dichotomies, trichotomies, etc. and there *were* alternatives that weren"t exactly mentioned.
Posted by Raisor 1 year ago
Raisor
*Vote Con
Posted by Raisor 1 year ago
Raisor
I feel like Con"s "populations" arguments would be good if I understood why knowing actual posthuman populations was crucial to Pro"s argument. Pro has presented Bostrom"s argument in a big picture way such that I don"t understand why specific population numbers are important to making the probabilities work, and Con isn"t explaining the flaw.

...ok I guess this is a two round debate? I feel like there really needed to be a final round. Tej if I were you I would have used the final round.

So I"m going to decide this debate in a way I don"t feel great about, I"m going to vote Con on the single issue of the Chinese Room. Pro doesn"t offer any rebuttal to this, and if the argument stands then a simulation can"t create conscious AI. I think Con should have driven this point home - that if the Chinese Room argument stands, the Resolution is IMPOSSIBLE. But I think Con just barely makes the claim enough for me to vote on it. On pretty much all the other issues I think Pro is winning (except the indicators), but if sentient AI isn"t possible, it really tanks the case. Pro can"t be too mad about the loss considering he forfeited his closing. Tej, next time at least make a brief closing summary for the first round your opponent forfeits. Personally I think that"s just good form.

Vot Con.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
Wyltedtejretics
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Given here: http://www.debate.org/forums/philosophy/topic/80451/
Vote Placed by n7 1 year ago
n7
Wyltedtejretics
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: http://docs.google.com/document/d/10hwwycNyNLqGbmgfLwq9Bb-xxVP057PLUex7iHz1I6E/edit?usp=sharing
Vote Placed by Raisor 1 year ago
Raisor
Wyltedtejretics
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments