Re: Simulation or not? (was Re: Another Take on the Fermi Paradox)

From: Cliff Stabbert (
Date: Thu Dec 26 2002 - 10:17:13 MST

Thursday, December 26, 2002, 11:18:05 AM, Gordon Worley wrote:

GW> I don't know about you, but if this is a simulation, it sucks and I
GW> want out. It's not Friendly to let someone suffer when they don't have
GW> to and have asked for the suffering to stop. I think, in this case,
GW> it's more likely that our theory of Friendliness is correct than that
GW> we are seeing `unfriendly' Friendliness.

There are a number of hidden assumptions underlying your reasoning
above, among them:
- You don't have to suffer, i.e. suffering is unnecessary. Perhaps
  the suffering we are going through is a necessary part of some
  process, which our current POV cannot see.
- You have asked for the suffering to stop. Perhaps this needs to
  be asked in the proper way, with the proper tools and preparation,
  and the proper degree of sincerity. (I won't get into the relevant
  occult and mystical practices here, but some techniques may or may
  not resemble "asking to be let out" or "asking for the suffering to
- That any simulation would necessarily be monitored (probably,
  by implication, by its creator). Perhaps we are the manifestations
  of a single higher mind in a simulation of its own devising that
  will "end" when we reunite, possibly through the Singularity
  (certain mystical speculations could be read this way); perhaps it
  is only you in a simulation of your own devising or that of someone
  else (us humans of 2040 having devised direct brain interface gear and
  an amnesia drug, say; or us Pleiadaians having done something
  similar, the better to understand these peculiar Gaians). There are
  other possibilities.

In short, I think you're limiting the idea of simulation to a specific
kind of simulation we might create, run by certain rules we might

GW> I understand the Prime Directive and I say that Captain Kirk could have
GW> helped a lot more people if he had dropped a few replicators on
GW> 20th-Century-Earth-looking planets than if he had just ignored them.
GW> I'm aware that it's possible to do more harm than good, but
GW> anthropologists have come a long way in helping the people they study
GW> come towards the modern world. I think that deciding the best course
GW> of action to help an underdeveloped civilization would be an easy task
GW> for an SI.

I've never watched much Trek, so I can't speak to Kirk's actions or
lack thereof, but the Prime Directive as written doesn't say one can't
interfere at all.

  As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with
  its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet
  personnel may interfere with the healthy development of alien
  life and culture. Such interference includes the introduction of
  superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world who society
  is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. [...]

There are hypotheses one could sketch under which interference might
take/have taken place on Earth; a lot depends on the understanding of
"healthy development". One could even speculate that such
interference does or has taken place, albeit surreptitiously.
Insufficient data.


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