Re: Is This an Illusion?

Dejan Vucinic (
Tue, 24 Dec 1996 19:29:03 -0600

Sean Morgan wrote:
> Time to pull an old sig out of the archive. The quote is a paraphrase of
> something Marvin Minsky wrote.
> "If instead we were computer-simulated beings
> in a computer-simulated universe you wouldn't
> be able to tell -- except that nuclear physics
> would show round-off errors not unlike the
> uncertainty principle." Uh, wait a minute ...

Just to spoil your morning, the uncertainty principle doesn't have
anything to do with atomic nucleus (although the latter suffers
considerably as a result of the former :). It is a consequence of
the quantum nature of Nature, and would hold in any quantum universe
regardless of the number and strength of (what we nowadays call)
fundamental interactions. So, assigning an inherent property of
reality to a certain scientific discipline of nuclear physics
strikes me as a particularly yucky way of using the language.
But that's just grumpy ol' me. :)

To get back to the original thread, the "we're all one big simulation"
argument has been beaten to death. If true, it's good news for anyone
looking for a Grand Unified Theory because it implies that there is,
in fact, a finite underlying structure of the Universe. The first
question to ask oneself here is: what difference does it make?
The answer is, of course,_absolutely_none!_ Whether the fabric of
spacetime is a computer or not is totally irrelevant. What really
matters is whether there are any I/O ports, and how do we recognize
them. Meditate about _that,_ if you're brave! :)