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The way I understand it, it says that the probability of God not existing is like 1 / infinity. I wonder if there are any flaws in the logic below that I don't see.

A possible interpretation can go like this:

Let's assume that there's indeed nothing divine about our universe. Most importantly there are no souls and there's nothing "magical", other-dimensionly about the consciousness and therefore life. Everything is all just evolutionary rules that we don't understand yet, because we haven't uncovered 100% of the physics laws. But at some point we will uncover them. Once that happens, we will be able to put these evolutionary rules inside a computer program, run it very fast and after, say about a week, we should get a fairly similar copy of our universe. That new universe, even though a simulation, would have been created by the same evolutionary rules as ours, so it will be as real as it gets - not just some illusion. So real that it may actually be a crime to pull the plug, because you'll be destroying lives. The only difference for that universe will be that it exists in a different dimension.

The life inside it will reach the point where they can do the same and spin their own universes. And this can go on forever (limited by the processing power of our computer, but it can be very powerful). We can spin multiple such universes, the aliens in ours can do the same and as a result our universe would have created millions of child, grandchild, etc. universes.

Seeing all this, we start asking - what is the chance that we actually live in a universe that is not like this? And the answer is 1 / infinity (actually not infinity, but limited by the original computer's resources, but still it can potentially be a very large number).

The original universe that started all this may not have a creator, may be very different from ours and it may actually have a relatively simple explanation of how it all began. But if we don't live there - it's hard to speculate.

So is it really safe to say that according to this theory, the chances of God not existing (in our universe) is like 1 / infinity? Are there any flaws in the above? Is the theory scientifically sound at all?

EDIT: I'd like to point out that the purpose of the question is not to ask if we live in a simulation or not. This can only be the case if consciousness can be achieved using simple if-then-else computer logic. I don't think that's possible, but the purpose of the question is to ask - if we assume this is actually the case (because many atheists believe this) then the simulation theory becomes a very real thing, so is it scientifically ok to make that 1/infinity statement. And if not - why not?

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  • It seems you assume the perfect simulation of a universe is a granted possibility. But think about how much information you need to store about one atom. Can you store it all, in a way accessible to your simulation algorithm, on a single atom of your simulator's memory? It's very unlikely. And even in this case, you will need all the matter of our universe to simulate another one (and it's only to store the data, we haven't spoke about the processor or its energy source yet...)
    – armand
    Dec 28 '20 at 11:46
  • @armand well yeah, it requires a lot of power, so in reality you will face implementation problems. But as technology evolves these issues may become solved. So the question is more like - is this theoretically possible? If the theory is ok, then we could assume that with advanced enough technology we'll be able to overcome the practical issues.
    – Tomov
    Dec 28 '20 at 12:01
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    Thomas Aquinas has resurrected!! There as so many fallacies in your reasoning, I wouldn't even know where to begin. Dec 28 '20 at 13:07
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    @Tomov as I've answered in the linked question, the mere idea of scientifically talking about God is problematic. This is why I marked this question as a duplicate. Also, if your question is strictly about God and the 1/infinity statement, you don't need to include the simulation proposition. Dec 28 '20 at 17:50
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    @Tomov "in theory everything's possible" Not in useful theories.
    – Sandejo
    Dec 28 '20 at 21:13
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The Hard Problem of consciousness does not go away just because you virtualised it. But, setting aside the dubious ontology here, the core issue of infinite simulations has been raised often enough to deserve an answer.

The short answer is, it is rubbish. It suffers the same fallacy of large numbers as do Boltzmann brains, parallel selves and all such fashionable nonsense. The reason is simple - infinities are not permissible in physics, they are merely signs that your theoretical model has reached breaking point.

In the present case, the Standard Model of cosmology is a good enough place to start. In the Big Bang, the Universe arose as a finite-sized ball of finite energy. It then grew at a finite rate for a finite length of time. It is therefore finite. No simulation can have as much detail as the Universe it is constructed in. Since hardware must be built and powered, software layered on top of it and the simulated environment itself on top of that, Shannon's law places a theoretical limit of 25% efficiency on a Universe dedicated to nothing but simulating the next one down. So maybe 10^0.000000000001 would be a more realistic estimate. Cascade that down a few generations and your latest simulation soon runs out of steam. You end up with a finite number of simulations in a finite number of levels.

What civilisation would commit vast resources on a cosmic scale, simply to initiate such a dead-end project? One level would be enough for anybody. And without such an F&SF grandiosity, the 1/infinity issue vanishes with it.

Moreover it is wholly irrelevant to the issue of deity. Any Divinity who started the whole thing off would be as present/absent for the subsidiary level/s as for the top one.

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  • Thanks for the detailed answer. I'll need some time to process it though as i don't immediately understand everything, but it's the kind of argumented criticism i was hoping to get.
    – Tomov
    Dec 28 '20 at 17:33
  • So there are two major problems - the use of infinities and energy. I think I understand why these are valid concerns. Our universe does run, so the multiverse obviously has the needed energy available. So I guess the energy problem comes down to - whether an advanced enough civilisation could theoretically control it for its own (scientific) use. The reason why anybody would bother with such an experiment could be to answer one question - can conscious life be created this way.
    – Tomov
    Dec 28 '20 at 23:32
  • One could drastically lower their consumption by limiting the calculations to what's important-ie. only planet Earth and a window of a few billion years and take the rest for granted. Once you have the answer you can stop- the whole experiment could last just a few hours, though for the life in the simulation it would seem like 14 bln years and as if the whole universe is running, even though it's not. That may actually be another possible sad answer to the Fermi paradox :D But one should of course be careful about the point where assumptions become too speculative to be taken seriously.
    – Tomov
    Dec 28 '20 at 23:34
  • And as for what does God have to do with all this - if the answer is - conscious life cannot be created this way, even though we had the physics right - then there could be something more to it, other than physics. If the answer is - it can - then there's a chance (though not infinity) that you can be a part of such a few-hours-long experiment.
    – Tomov
    Dec 28 '20 at 23:45
  • @Tomov Your question is specifically about the 1/infinity argument for deity. Therefore, so is my answer. Other issues should be addressed by other questions. Dec 29 '20 at 8:45
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The biggest issue people seem to have with this theory is the energy problem - it would require so much energy that it seems absurd to the human mind. I've always thought that this point was irrelevant, but I couldn't formulate a clear explanation in my head. I think I finally got a good explanation as to why this may be the case, so I want to add it.

The energy problem becomes a problem only if we assume that the Multiverse is "quite small" - like a 1000 times bigger than our Universe. Then such a simulation seems absurd, at least from our perspective.

But in fact there's no reason to assume that the Multiverse is that small. If we take into account the mind-bendingly large size of the Universe, then it would be logical to assume that the Multiverse could be mind-bendingly bigger than a single universe. A single universe could be just a drop in an ocean and so the energy needed to simulate it would be a negligibly small part of the total available energy (even if you run a simulation with billions of copies).

It seems to me that this leaves no sensible arguments against this theory, at least from what I've seen so far (not just in this thread).

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