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Spencer Ferri

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Is the universe a computer simulation

Scientists have decided that they can test to see whether or not the universe is a simulation being run by some advanced civilization.

"Essentially, Savage said that computers used to build simulations perform "lattice quantum chromodynamics calculations" - dividing space into a four-dimensional grid. Doing so allows researchers to examine the force which binds subatomic particles together into neutrons and protons - but it also allows things to happen in the simulation, including the development of complex physical "signatures", that researchers don't program directly into the computer. In looking for these signatures, such as limitations on the energy held by cosmic rays, they hope to find similarities within our own universe."

Basically, if the simulated universe shares certain unintended, unprogrammed similarities with our universe, then our universe may be a simulation.

What I don't quite understand is - why isn't vice-verca a more realistic scenario? That is, if the simulation shares certain similarities with our universe, maybe it's just a good simulation?

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/11/physicists-may-have-evide_n_1957777.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/12/physicists-universe-simulation-test-university-of-washington-matrix_n_2282745.html

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    Dec 13 2012: 'Basically, if the simulated universe shares certain unintended, unprogrammed similarities with our universe, then our universe may be a simulation.'

    I'm incredibly sceptical of that line of reasoning.
    Can a program yield unexpected results? Sure.
    Can a universe yield unexpected results? Sure.

    Can a program and a universe yield similar unexpected results when both are ultimately given the same attributes and the program is based on the universe?... I would be incredibly certain that 'sure' is also the answer...
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    Dec 13 2012: I always argue about it with my dad. He claims the universe is a game and I take the opposite stance. We have not reached any conclusions yet. If we do I'll keep you posted :)
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    Dec 20 2012: The multiverse in which we live (realities or simulations within realities within realities) is most likely accurate from a scientific point of view. But the idea that we are living in a simulation devised by aliens of some sort sounds strange. That we live in an imagined reality that conforms to certain laws like a computer has limits set for its abilities does not sound strange to me. That's because I believe that I am sentient and I can't envision myself as being non-sentient.

    I see a very direct parallel between a computer simulation and reality, but that does not mean that I believe that reality is a program filled with unreal people who falsely believe in their own sentience. There is too much science that denies this.

    So if you speak of reality, I can say that it might well be and probably is rather like one. But if you speak of those of us who (choose to) participate in the simulation, it loses its comprehensibility.
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    Dec 17 2012: We live in one universe. As we speak there are many simulated universes in existence just on Earth. Our one Universe contains billions of habitable planets so there are probably billions of simulated universes running right now. There are therefore billions of simulated universes for each one real one. The chances that ours is real are therefore billions to one.
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      Dec 17 2012: That is, if. Statistically speaking we only know of one planet which is inhabited, which doesn't make for very good statistics. We know there are many planets, and that it's not altogether rare for planets to be within the habitable ring, and that organic matter can occur outside of the earth. There's also signs that moons could possibly be habitable. But still only one planet with signs of life ever having existed!
  • Dec 13 2012: "Is the universe a computer simulation"

    If it is there's no way for us to ever find out, that's also true if it isn't a computer simulation because quantized space can also be just th way nature works and a localized tesselation algorithm that kicks in at very high energies could mask quantized space in a simulation, so you can debate about it all you want but you'll never get an answer.
  • Dec 13 2012: How would we ever really know for sure? If we developed a really good computer simulation of a human community, then the simulated humans would not know they were simulated. So if we are the simulations, we will never know for sure. Unless the programmers tell us. That would certainly cause a ruckus.