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

From: Emil Gilliam (
Date: Thu Dec 26 2002 - 13:02:55 MST

The is-the-universe-a-simulation topic has been beaten to death repeatedly
on this list. Unless there's something sufficiently new or different to be
said about it I declare this thread closed. (The extropian and wta-talk
lists might be more appropriate places for this.)

 - Emil Gilliam, SL4 List Sniper


Cliff Stabbert writes:

> 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
> stop".)
> - 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
> choose.
> 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.
> --
> Cliff

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