Does this argument support the simulation hypothesis?


Induction and argument by analogy is an important and plausible method of obtaining knowledge in both science and philosophy.

So if we consider the analogy to be a good and valid principle, then we must accept the statement that our universe is created by a creator or simulated?

If we do not agree with the fact that we live in a simulation, then we do not agree with induction and argument by analogy?

Did I misunderstand something?

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    The watchmaker is an argument for God for churchgoers. The simulation hypothesis is an argument for God for TED talk attendees.
    – user4894
    Commented Apr 17 at 22:22
  • I did not understand. Does the watchmaker's argument support the simulation hypothesis?
    – Arnold
    Commented Apr 17 at 22:23
  • 1
    From the link you gave, I'd say yes.
    – user4894
    Commented Apr 17 at 22:26
  • 3
    We do not consider analogy to be a good and valid principle of obtaining knowledge. We consider some analogies to be good and valid, when structural parts of different phenomena can be matched to each other and the analogy is applied within limits warranted by this match. Analogies can also be useful for generating ideas that have to be tested further, not knowledge. For the most part, analogies are poor guides to knowledge.
    – Conifold
    Commented Apr 17 at 23:31
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    If analogy were a reliable principle of derivation, then would the watchmaker's argument necessarily support the simulation hypothesis?
    – Arnold
    Commented Apr 18 at 6:40

3 Answers 3


Does [the watchmaker analogy] support the simulation hypothesis?

The latter may be seen as a special case of the former: from "we live in a Designer's creation (tout court)", to "we live in a Designer's computer simulation (specifically)".

So if we consider the analogy to be a good and valid principle, we must accept the statement that our universe is created by a creator or simulated?

Analogy is a rhetorical device, in a first instance for explanation (explaining "this" by similarity to "that"). Indeed, the "watchmaker analogy" is not essentially an analogy: it is a teleological argument, i.e. one that presupposes a finality/intentionality to the world, and that is a form of theism, since this element of finality has the same connotations as a separate and intentional God.

That said, you would/should accept that "our universe is created by a creator or simulated" only to the extent that you find the "watchmaker analogy" compelling, which ultimately means confronting and accepting, if you do, its premise.


You are making a basic mistake in your reasoning, which is ironic since you have recently asked so many questions about reasoning. You seem to assume that if a particular method of reasoning can be applied to reach a conclusion, then either the conclusion must be right or the method of reasoning you have adopted must be wrong. That is a false dichotomy. Methods of reasoning can lead to differing conclusions as a result of factors that are not related to the method per se. For example, in practice much reasoning involves judgements, in which the relative importance or likelihood of some topic under consideration needs to be weighed on a subjective basis, and different people may make different judgements, resulting in different conclusions.

More generally, methods of reasoning are subject to the 'garbage in, garbage out' rule, and various other opportunities for abuse which have nothing to do with the method itself.

The plausibility of arguments by analogy depends on the relevance of the analogy, which again can be a matter of subjective judgement. If I am a trained mechanic, and I have seen n cars with a particular set of symptoms caused by a common fault with the spark plugs, then when I see the n+1th car with the same symptoms, I might reason by analogy that it has the same fault, because the analogy has a high degree of relevance. If I see a steam engine with similar symptoms, I would be foolish to go looking for spark plugs among the workings of the machine.

  • A nitpick if you won't mind: analogy strictly speaking is a "rhetorical device", where rhetoric is a branch of linguistics. Indeed, "argument by analogy" is only improperly an argument. Commented Apr 18 at 6:15
  • @JulioDiEgidio I agree that analogy is a rhetorical device or figure of speech. However, nowadays the use of the word has broadened somewhat! Commented Apr 18 at 7:44
  • Indeed, but that I consider a problem, along the lines of the simplification of the dictionary and of every discourse, including and especially the philosophical one: here about understanding what an analogy is and the role it may actually play. Commented Apr 18 at 7:58

Reaching a post-human level of civilizational development is an inevitability if we account for billions of worlds over billions of years.

And if post-human civilization transforms itself into consciousness outside the human body, then creation of simulator(s) allowing this digital consciousness to play in the semi-real world will also be inevitable.

No one in his right mind could argue that it is technically impossible to create a "high-fidelity ancestor simulation".

I think the article brought in this question proves that.

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