Re: Invasion of the Meme Snatchers

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 15:21:38 MST

On Fri, 15 Feb 2002 wrote:

> The simple answer is no.

I'm sorry Mitch but I have to *strongly* disagree with you.

> There is not one piece of evidence that such a nanobot does exist,

I agree, but one has to ask what what level of "proof" would be
required that such nanobots do not exist. To prove it demonstrably
in my mind, one would need to slice up the brains of every
individual on the planet at the 0.1-1 micron level and look
for signs of nanobots. I don't see a high probability for people
rushing to sign up for this clinical trial.

Paraphrasing Sagan, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

> nor does it appear likely, in the case of a "ufo" that memory munchers
> would be actively, altering human neurochemicals, after a close encounter.

This of course begs the issue -- why would "aliens" need to appear
as "visible" UFOs? If they simply crawl around at the micron or
sub-micron level we are going to be hard pressed to notice them.

> First why have such a close encounter in the 1st place, and secondly,
> why even bother to go to the trouble of alteriing photographic
> plates, for distant encounters?

I would tend to agree. If aliens exist as ubiquitous bacteria
(remember each human has ~40 trillion of these on or in their body),
then there is no reason that they need to create macro-scale phenomena
that humans would ever detect. Think of this at the bacterial level --
I have a packet of 1 Mbit that I want to deliver (the packets could
be *much* more complex than that). They are blown around by wind,
water currents, etc. until they are in a significantly different
location. Every bacteria they come into contact with they exchange
"send this East" with "send this West" packets. Simple random encounters
are going to result in a significant propagation of packets around the

> > Thus, one way to make our world is to do it in a computer simulation,
> > another would be to create a physical world and populate it with created
> > humans.

This may be a subtle point, I'm not sure. But obviously there is a
transition point between whether one wants to run the "reality" in a
virtual world or the physical world. It depends largely, I think, on
how soon one would like to see the results and the granularity of the
simulations (finer granularity presumably has greater needs to move
into the real "reality") and perhaps on an economic analysis of how
much of the available energy in the universe do you use to run
the simulation in a VR vs. reality (if one is looking at optimizing
ones long term resources). In the visible universe, little optimization
seems to be taking place, so we are either in the real reality or one
constructed to appear as if the optimization of resource utilization
is of no concern.

> I have read Dr. Bostrom's thesis several times, and still can't saavy why he
> believes the world is a simmulation.

Its a numbers argument. If "perceived" reality is a reflection of
"real" reality and in our "real" reality we can foresee the possibility
of running such simulations, then the odds are that we are one of
the simulations rather than the "real" reality (because the number
of simulations is much greater than the single reality).

> If there is more data, as I state that there is, then we do not have a simm,
> but possibly a genuine, created universe; perhaps created Andrei Linde style.

But can you cite evidence that documents the amount of data that must
be out there vs. the amount of data that can generated either by
a mathematical algorithm (e.g. fractals) or random chaos theory
that could easily be produced in a sim? And how does one differentiate
between the "real" data and the data generated "on demand"?

> On another matter, your conference on Practical Cosmology, perhaps needs to
> include something like Existential Cosmology, touching upon meaning, or
> pain-relief, (at least!). I remember reading John Leslie's books (Professor
> at the U of Guelph) which covered this issue, a bit.

I haven't read Leslie's books, but don't see why "Practical Cosmology"
need include "Existential Cosmology". In practical cosmology, one might
ask what fraction of the dust Amara sees in the Universe is composed of
Hall Utility Foglets. Existential Cosmology might ask whether or not
the Utility Foglets enjoy their existence drifting between stars.

As I think was pointed out not too long ago in the discussion about
the "purpose of life", Rand would classify this as a categorization


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