Re: The SA and the DA

From: Charles D Hixson (
Date: Mon Mar 13 2006 - 19:56:56 MST

On Tuesday 07 March 2006 02:41 pm, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> Phillip Huggan wrote:
> > Is there a solid logical refutation to the theory that the world was
> > created 5 seconds ago by unicorns as a by-product of their dreams?
> Yes. The world contains a vast amount of compressible order for which
> the simplest explanation is physics. Either your hypothesis is that the
> unicorns dreamed all of physics up to this point - which is simply
> existing physics plus "unicorns", an unjustified penalty of Kolmogorov
> complexity - or, even worse, the unicorns dreamed something that
> coincidentally looks exactly like highly ordered physics. Either way,
> physics alone is a simpler hypothesis with a far greater prior probability.

Well, if we postulate recent creation AND no on-going interference, it's still
the case that we may only *believe* that the universe contains incompressible
order. This may be one of the "postulates" that the unicorns created (i.e.,
our belief, not the incompressible order). OTOH, that's not a useful
assumption. When faced with theories such as the unicorns, I find that while
this may be a simpler theory, it's not a useful one. And I prefer useful
theories over useless ones as well as preferring simpler theories over more
complex ones. (And, of course, consistency trumps anything but utility. For
utility I'll pick Newton for trajectories over short distances at
non-relativistic speeds, even though I know that consistency would choose

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