Mapping the world's opinions

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Are we living in a simulation? Show more Show less

Ever since The Matrix was released in 1999, many have questioned the parameters of the world we know and experience. Though the movie was a worldwide phenomenon that sparked up this debate, the philosophical underpinnings and implications of this potential reality give it new meaning in a modern, technologically advanced world where everything seems possible.

Results are inconclusive. Show more Show less

Scientists and theoretical physicists can neither confirm nor deny the ideas behind the simulation theory manifesting themselves in the world.
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There is little evidence of either affirmation or denial of the theory.

Scientists have found no proof of the simulation theory, yet they have also never discovered substantial evidence to counteract Bostrom's hypothesis.
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Context

The Argument

Nick Bostrom's simulation theory has garnered much debate since he first published his philosophical inquiry in 2003. Though many scientists, physicists, theologists, and philosophers have weighed in by conducting their respective pieces of research and theoretical questioning, consensus is still elusive on the idea that humans are existing within a simulation potentially controlled by incredibly advanced future beings. Harvard theoretical physicist Lisa Randall strongly opposes the supposedly scientific hypothesis: “I don’t see that there’s really an argument for it... There’s no real evidence." On the other hand, NASA scientist Rich Terrile vehemently proclaims, "Quite frankly, if we are not living in a simulation, it is an extraordinarily unlikely circumstance."[1] No matter where one falls in the argument, the evidence and scientific observations conducted today will never give us sufficient reason to prove or disprove the argument until more information regarding human life and the complex universe around us is revealed.

Counter arguments

Simply because there are not copious amounts of scientific evidence for a theory does not mean its conclusion is inconclusive. For example, scientists have recently discovered that there is no computing power large enough for humans today to create a simulation for our universe,[2] confirming to many mathematically minded physicists that the simulation itself could never exist. Though there are valid counterclaims responding to this new finding, to state that there is insufficient data supporting one way or the other undermines the work of the scientists who tirelessly search for answers. Additionally, those who claim the theory is false before going into the field and attempting to explain their hypotheses, as well as those who do not conduct any field research and claim the theory truly works, should never deem it as inconclusive or unanswerable to present humans if they cannot back their ideas up with science.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Scientific/philosophical theories that are neither proven or disproven through sufficient evidence in the world are inconclusive. [P2] The simulation theory possesses no clear scientific consensus, lacking both affirmation and refutation supported by factual data or observation. [P3] Therefore, the results of scientific study regarding the simulation theory are inconclusive.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] To claim a theory is inconclusive is to disregard all possible scientific proof and reasoning both for and against it. Where there is "insufficient" evidence, there is still a good amount of evidence for us to further understand and apply to the theory. [Rejecting P2] From both sides of the argument, there is "sufficient" evidence for both the affirmation and refutation of the simulation theory. Scientific "observation" is loosely defined here, and can range from a basic understanding of the universe's mechanical algorithms to measured, heavily researched scientific study. [Rejecting P3] Results are not necessarily inconclusive on the simulation theory.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/11/simulated-world-elon-musk-the-matrix
  2. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/physicists-confirm-that-were-not-living-in-a-computer-simulation/
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 27 May 2020 at 05:38 UTC