Just in case you live in a virtual world…
“…you should try to be as interesting as possible, on the theory that the designer is more likely to keep you around for the next simulation.”
After you read the article, follow it up with this:
“Any Message for Whoever’s Simulating Our World? Leave It Here and Win a Real Prize
We interrupt this weighty discussion for an announcement. The previous post generated some excellent comments about the ethics of creating a simulated world of sentient beings, and I want to address that topic in another post. But first, let me announce a small competition based on two far-from-certain premises:
1. We’re living in a computer simulation being run by some intelligent being (ethical or otherwise) that I’ll call the Prime Designer.
2. The Prime Designer is an avid reader of this blog.
Now, is there anything you’d like to say to the Prime Designer?
Post your messages here, and the best one will receive a DVD of the “The 13th Floor” (or, if you prefer, one of the other movies or books dealing with a computer-generated world – you’ll find lots of recommendations from readers who commented after my first post on this topic.) I’ll also throw in a signed copy of my book, “The Best-Case Scenario Handbook,” which includes advice on what to say if you encounter Santa Claus or God, among other visitors.
Speaking of God, I realize some readers worry that this talk of a Prime Designer sounds like shilling for the intelligent-design side in the evolution debate. Rest assured I don’t believe this designer is a supernatural being beyond the laws of physics who created the Earth a few thousand years ago and then revealed the secret to a few clerical scribes. This simulation hypothesis isn’t an excuse to teach the Bible in addition to Darwin in science class.
But while most of the adherents of intelligent-design theory may be may be members of religions that believe in a supernatural deity, the theory of intelligent design is “not inherently theistic,” as Bradley Monton points out in this paper. Dr. Monton, a philosopher the University of Colorado, argues that the reason to teach Darwin instead of the Bible is because of empirical evidence, not because intelligent design is inherently unscientific or supernaturalistic. He writes: “The intelligent cause could be God, but it need not be. It may be that living things on Earth were created by a highly intelligent alien civilization, as Raelians believe. It may be that the whole universe we experience is really just a computer simulation being run by highly intelligent non-supernatural beings, as Nick Bostrom argues is plausible.”
If we are in that simulation, what’s your message to the simulator? You can offer constructive criticism (think of the blog as a suggestion box), meditations, strategic flattery, pleas or rationales for letting humanity (or at least you) survive and prosper in this world and beyond. Post whatever you want, and I’ll pick a winner next week.
226 comments so far…
There are at least 202 more. (Number 93 cracked me up. Now, back to work.)