Re: New website: The Simulation Argument

From: Nick Bostrom (
Date: Sat Dec 08 2001 - 15:17:36 MST

G. P. wrote:

>Thanks Nick for this idea, one of the most interesting I have seen

Oh, thanks!

>Yours is the best demonstration of the existence of a "Christian God",
>a potentially capricious being who runs the universe from the outside
>and may be interested in the beings within his universe. Another way
>to state the conclusions is that, given the assumptions, the
>probability that I live in a universe created and run by a god is very

That would be misleading, unless you count among the assumption the
negation of the other two possible conclusions one can draw from the argument.

>Perhaps the argument can be made even stronger by replacing "humans"
>by "beings". So in order to refute the conclusion we would have to
>assume that no sentient race ever develops the resources to run
>simulations containing conscious beings, or that all sentient races
>that have developed this resources choose not to exploit them.

There could be a very small fraction of races that are running
ancestor-simulations without us having to think that we are living in a

>Perhaps the mathematics of the proof does not work if you allow an
>infinite number of conscious beings. This would be the case, for
>example, if you do not assume that there is a bottom level of reality.

If there is no bottom then everybody is living in a simulation.

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Yale University
New Haven, CT 06520 | Phone: (203) 432-1663 | Fax: (203) 432-7950

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:24 MDT