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The Contender
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It is NOT reasonable to believe we live in a simulation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2018 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 400 times Debate No: 119521
Debate Rounds (4)
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BOP will be on Pro

Definitions -

Reasonable: Having good cause or justification

Simulation: A mathematical model calculated on some physical substrate (a silicon chip, A brain, A bunch of electrons suspended in a state of quantum superposition, Etc. )

Possible: Having precedent or something of parallel comparison


Thank you for posting definitions.
Alright, So. It is reasonable (having good cause or justification) to believe that we are living in a simulation (a mathematical model calculated on a physical substrate) because. . .

1) There is no way to disprove it, And if there is, Nobody has discovered it yet.
You cannot say that we do not live in a simulation because you can feel things and think things and you're convinced you're real. Who's to say? If we were following the idea that we really do live in a complex simulation, Then us feeling and thinking things would be programmed in. It is possible to simulate consciousness. For instance, Hanson Robotics' "Sofia" can carry out entire conversations, And is constantly being trained so that her answers can become better and more realistic. Jimmy Fallon said (roughly) that Sofia was "basically alive". I do not think that the robot itself was sentient, But it's definitely close.
Computers function, To put it simply, Through CPU (Central Processing Unit) receiving inputs, Comparing the inputs, And giving them appropriate outputs based on where they came from. The brain is quite similar. It is comprised of many neurons that send and receive messages to the appropriate cells based upon the cells from which they came. So, To deny a computer it's consciousness simply based on its structure or anatomy would be denying yourself consciousness. Point being, AI technologies are rapidly improving, And to say that we can never possibly put complex AIs into a giant galaxy/universe simulation would be ignorant and closed minded. If we have the potential to do it, So do other societies. They probably already have and we're probably living in it, That's all. There is no real way to disprove it. We also cannot really "escape the simulation" unless we make some serious technological advances on both sides. That would be like asking a Sim to leave the game. So we can't escape to say that it's real, But we also cannot discard it and say it's fake. Assuming that there can be advanced civilizations that can create simulations, There are most likely many simulations, And we are most likely inside of one. If simulations of this size are possible (They will be/already are) it is so incomprehensibly unlikely that we're on the outer ring. And if there are so many simulations, If we take into account the sheer number of simulated conscious beings (simulations inside of simulations inside of simulations inside of. . . ) to the one real universe, Then all collective conscious beings are roughly 99. 9999. . . . . To. 00000. . . 1. It's very likely.

2) The simulation theory has been backed up by Elon Musk! Haha that isn't very concrete but many people have believed in this theory, Is all I'm saying, And maybe you could become one too. Many people have also believed in God, But that doesn't mean that it's real, And the same goes for the simulation. But it is very likely and another theory that I was thinking about is that perhaps our "God" is just an advanced being who owns the civilization. God and the simulation theory can co-exist.

So, Why do you think it is unreasonable to believe that the simulation theory is real?
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Crongledonk for accepting this challenge. From what you've written thus far it looks like we're in for a really good debate. I can't wait to get into the thick of it! I"ll start by laying out my argument for why it"s not reasonable to believe we live in a simulation and then I"ll address the remarks you've made.

To start with, My position is very straightforward (though it may take a little explaining): Mathematical simulations don't have the emergent properties that physical systems do.

Did I lose you already? Alright, Let's start with an analogy. We all know that a map can represent the characteristics of a province - it's terrain, It"s bodies of water and even whole cities can be expressed - but the map itself is none of those things. Or, To put it in a pithy catch-phrase, "The map is not the territory. "[1] For example, A square on the map with the label "zoo" attached to it doesn't actually have any animals in it. And an area marked "downtown" on the map isn"t actually bustling with street cars and people.
The same is true of a computer modeling a human brain. While we have undertaken projects that can simulate a brains structure, Its chemical components, And it's electrical process'[2] - those mathematical representations are not the same thing as consciousness. [3] That is to say - a simulated brain wouldn't have the emergent properties a real brain does (e. G. Thoughts, Feelings, A first hand subjective experience, Etc. ).

Mathematics is a language we use to describe reality. But it's a mistake to equate language as being the same thing as reality. We can use words to describe a storm - but that doesn't mean storms and words are the same thing. And we can use math to simulate hurricanes. But that doesn't mean that when we open up the computer we find wind, Rain or hail inside. And the same is true of a mathematical simulation of a brain - if we opened up the computer running such a simulation we would not expect to find consciousness inside anymore than we'd expect to find biological brain matter. Because math describes things. It doesn't exist as those things.

So, If your conscious, Than you know you're not in a simulation. Because mathematical simulations don't have the emergent properties that physical systems do.

Okay, So now to address some of the issues con has raised:

1A: Con seems to think I have to "disprove" the simulation hypothesis. Let me be clear, That is not the forum of this debate. We are discussing whether or not it's reasonable to believe we are in a simulation. I don't have to disprove it. I just have to show we"re not justified in thinking it's actually true.
For example, If someone asserts, "Bigfoot is real" I don't have prove bigfoot is fake to point out such a person lacks sufficient grounds for their claim.

1B: Con argues that "it's possible to simulate consciousness. " But this is not true. We have no precedent nor parallel for simulating consciousness.

1C: Con argues that since the brain is a computer that "simulates consciousness" we could therefore be in a simulation. This, Of course, Is not a valid because the human brain doesn't "simulate consciousness". Rather, Our consciousness is an emergent property of the brains physical process' - not merely something the brain is simulating. This is why drugging or damaging any area of the brain can cause a difference in our state of consciousness. [4]

2: Citing Elon Musk as a believer in the SImulation Hypothesis is an Argument from Authority Fallacy. Unless Con can show Elon is justified in that belief than it's a non-sequitur.

Well I think that's more than enough to get us started. I look forward to Con's rebuttal.

[1] https://en. Wikipedia. Org/wiki/Map%E2%80%93territory_relation
[2] https://en. Wikipedia. Org/wiki/Human_Brain_Project
[3] https://www. Quora. Com/If-every-neuron-in-a-human-was-accurately-simulated-in-a-computer-would-it-result-in-human-consciousness
[4] https://www. Brainline. Org/author/celeste-campbell/qa/why-has-my-sisters-personality-changed-her-traumatic-brain-injury


As a foreword, I want to thank you for citing sources, I apologize for forgetting to do that earlier. I also agree, I think this debate is very interesting, And I can't wait to see how it pans out.
So, Onto the argument. . .

Your argument is incorrect because it implies that the earth isn't deterministic. Now what do I mean when I say that? When I say deterministic, I am referring to the concept that the universe is only the way it is because of pre-determined laws. For instance, If we go all the way back to the formative stages of the universe after the Big Bang, When everything was cooling down just enough for protons and neutrons and electrons to come together to create atoms [1]. This is one of the most basic predetermined laws. Atoms will automatically form at some point or another when protons, Neutrons, And electrons are present[2]. Now, Factor in all of the laws of physics and you will begin to see molecules, And then matter, And eventually entire planets formed just based on these rules. Each thing that is created is just a product of its environment, Including the predetermined rules that are found to be present in all environments. It will continue and continue until you see life, And humans, And civilization. It will keep on going, For forever. Even after all of the stars are reduced to black dwarves the pre-determined rules will not lose effect. You may be thinking, "no, People have free will. Not everything is determined by pre-determined rules (except for physics). " but not even that is true! I personally believe that people do not actually have free will. Just like the rules, Our lives are pre-determined by our environments. To put it simply, Imagine some children on a playground. One child (David) sees another child (Benny) laughing and using the swings (environment). Since David notices that Benny is having fun on the swings, He joins him and they have fun. From that point on, David tends to visit the swings when he goes to the playground. If David had not been naturally inquisitive (predetermined) and gone to the swings and had fun (impact on David through environment) with Benny, Then it would be unlikely that he would visit the swings in the future (This is a product of his pre-determined characteristics and environment). It's kind of hard to understand but my point is that everything in the universe is only a factor of its environment, And free will doesn't actually exist, We're just predetermined to think it does. Or at least some of us.
But how does your argument imply that the earth is not deterministic? Your argument asserts that the earth is not deterministic because you say that in order for a simulation to exist, It must/cannot exist in the physical. This is false.

2) I understand what you mean when you say that Mathematical simulations don't have the emergent properties that physical systems do, But that does not matter. I hate to dismiss it so quickly because you explained it very well and at first glance it looks like a valid point-- that is, Until you realize that it doesn't contradict what I had previously said at all. I agree with you. Mathematical Simulations do not have the same emergent properties that physical systems do. In fact, That goes in accordance with what I had previously said. But, If we were indeed inside of a simulation, That would not matter. The mathematical simulations do not need to produce actual physical product, As long as the simulation itself sees itself as physical. Otherwise it would not be a mathematical simulation, It would be a matter generator (like a 3D printer, But it makes more than plastic lol- I'm not actually citing a real thing, I'm just hypothesizing. ) All the simulation needs to do in order to theoretically exist is to be self-convincing.

Now, If someone were to make a simulation as complicated as an entire galaxy or universe, The easiest way to do it would be from pre-determined rules. They'd just plug in general physics rules, Sit back, And leave the simulation to its own devices as it expands. By a certain point. It would reach the level we're at. How did we get here if not as a product of the rules? I'm going to use another example; Newton's third law. Newton's third law states that "every action has an equal opposite reaction". If we put this into terms of the simulation, If you jumped into bed, That bed could be empty until you hit it. It doesn't have to be a real thing, It just has to convince you that it's real. So you falling into your bed is the "every action" part. The bed pushing back on you is the "equal opposite reaction" without this equal opposite reaction, You would fall through the bed and nothing would stop you. As long as you get the equal opposite reaction, You won't suspect the bed wasn't there or real before.

3) as you said with the human brain and computers, Like I said. The brain is just things firing messages to other things in a complex system that achieves consciousness. If our computers were more complicated, Who's to say they couldn't achieve the same? They work the same way at the basics. They're both just complicated networks. Yes, The human brain will be damaged if drugged, But the same goes to if you get a computer virus or spill water on your computer! It will not function as well anymore and the messages will face issues firing.

a) is it unreasonable to believe in something that is highly likely, Widely accepted, And endorsed by influential public figures?

b) we do have a parallel for simulating consciousness, But you don't understand the parallels in their structures.

c) you have no proof that the human brain does not simulate consciousness. Although drugging someone will alter their consciousness, So will giving AI a virus.

d) Elon brings up the same points that I do
https://www. Youtube. Com/watch? V=0cM690CKArQ

^^ I apologize that all of these are so brief, I'm within the last few minutes to be able to post and I'm rushing lol

[1]https://www. Youtube. Com/watch? V=s43lkwCsPPg
[2]https://www. Youtube. Com/watch? V=EdgYWHkqxUo
https://www. Youtube. Com/watch? V=tlTKTTt47WE&t=455s
Debate Round No. 2


Codedlogic forfeited this round.


crongledonk forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Codedlogic forfeited this round.


crongledonk forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by crongledonk 3 years ago
My Links didn't go up!
https://www. Youtube. Com/watch? V=0cM690CKArQ
https://www. Youtube. Com/watch? V=s43lkwCsPPg
https://www. Youtube. Com/watch? V=EdgYWHkqxUo
There we go hopefully they come up now
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