Re: Re[2]: Simulation argument in the NY Times

From: Matt Mahoney (
Date: Wed Aug 29 2007 - 16:32:56 MDT

--- Norman Noman <> wrote:

> On 8/26/07, Matt Mahoney <> wrote:
> > --- Norman Noman <> wrote:
> > > If there was a magic word that made people turn into frogs, I would have
> > a
> > > hard time considering that a natural feature.
> >
> > No you wouldn't. Miracles are miracles only because they are rare.
> No, they're not. They're miracles because they're rare and they can't be
> explained. It's really rare for a movie to be made that's based on an
> amusement part ride, but it does happen occasionally and nobody considers it
> a miracle.
> If people could be turned into frogs, we would adjust our scientific
> > theories to fit the
> > facts. We do it all the time.
> Conservation of mass (adjusted)
> The mass of a closed system of substances will remain constant, regardless
> of the processes acting inside the system, except when people are being
> turned into frogs.
> Yes, I can see how after a few years, that little wrinkle would be all
> ironed out.

Or maybe the extra mass is converted to undetectable particles called
frogions. I recall physicists faced a similar dilemma regarding radioactive
decay. At the time, the suggestion of neutrinos seemed just as bizarre as all
the other proposed explanations.

> I thought I was making my case rather bluntly, but apparently it was blunt
> enough. Let's say in addition to the frog word, there's a magic word that
> makes the names of the programmers scroll upwards across the sky in giant
> letters of fire, accompanied by a pleasant MIDI file, and after they're done
> scrolling there's a blinking message that says THIS UNIVERSE IS A
> Would that be distinguishable from a feature? Mr. Smart Guy?

Your argument makes sense if:
1. In all real universes, everything can be explained.
2. In all real or simulated universes, all humans are smart enough to find an
explanation for all phenomena, if one exists.

Assuming these things are true, then the universe must be simulated, because
there are phenomena I can't explain, like why does the universe exist, or why
does "flammable" and "inflammable" mean the same thing?

-- Matt Mahoney,

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