Re: God

Hal Finney (
Thu, 14 Nov 1996 13:55:36 -0800

From: "David Musick" <>
> If we become capable of creating universes similar to our own, it seems
> possible and likely that another conscious being created our universe. Just
> to make it clear (for the dogmatically intoxicated and mentally impaired): I'm
> not saying this being is omnipotent; I'm just saying that it is a conscious
> being who is very powerful, powerful enough to create universes. This being
> may have some sort of limited influence over our universe, and as we become
> more conscious and intelligent, we may become more adept at interpreting the
> signals the being is sending into our universe to influence us (if there is
> such a being sending signals). We may find that following these
> "instructions" consistently brings us great progress, and so we would learn to
> trust and follow these "instructions".

This reminds me of the arguments by Hans Moravec, developed in more
detail in Frank Tipler's Physics_of_Immortality, that future people will be
able and motivated to create lifelike simulations of the past, and that
therefore we may well be living in such simulations. In fact Moravec even
argues that since these simulations may be run many times (possibly
infinitely many) while the reality only happens once, that we are much
more likely to be in a simulation than a reality. You could also argue
that the simulations will cover many possible worlds and not just the one
real world, and therefore for similar reasons our chances of being in a
simulation are greater.

These models raise the same question about lack of intervention by the
outsiders in the worlds they create. On the one hand, if they intervene
it messes up the simulation and they may not learn what they wanted to
from it. But on the other, intervention would provide a new source of
information, and can also be justified on grounds of kindness, as Tipler
does at length.

I have prayed to the forces that run this universe, but there has been no
response. On the one hand you have to expect this because at least some
of the time they would run it without intervention; but on the other, you
would also expect that sometimes they would intervene. Of course they
might intervene in other ways independent of prayer, but I would guess that
moments of prayer would be more likely to receive interventions than others
since that is when attention is being directed towards the outside actors
and so intervention could bring more dramatic results.

We are faced with the classic dilemma of self-splitting: given that two
events are both going to happen, to different instances of yourself, what
is the proper expectation to hold with regard to your future experiences?
I find it most reasonable to take a probabilistic view, and to expect to
experience the two choices in proportion to the percentage of runs which
will experience one versus the other. So the lack of perceived intervention
would imply that many more non-intervening runs are made over a given
moment of consciousness than intervening ones.