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The Simulation Hypothesis: Evidence From Mental States - by John Prytz

There are many lines of evidence leading to theconclusion that we are just virtual reality beings 'living' in a computerprogrammed simulated universe. There is evidence from fine-tuning, from design,from causality (or the lack of causality), from violations of basic conservationlaws, from various paradoxes, inconsistencies and contradictions within therealm of Mother Nature, from probability theory, from computational theory andeven from mythology. The paranormal rates a mention too as potential evidence.Here's a few examples from the realm of the human mind.

 

The Simulation Hypothesis and Mind / Body Duality

 

It's obvious from experience and from experiment thatthere is a body-brain / mind interface that operates in both directions.Therefore there is no mind / body-brain duality. It is also obvious that yourmind is separate and apart from your body-brain since no one can find any traceof your mind (your personality, soul, psyche, essence, etc.) anywhere inside ofyour body or your brain. So there has to be a mind / body-brain duality afterall. It can't be but it is. Can virtual reality solve the paradox? Withsoftware all paradoxes can be resolved.

 

The Simulation Hypothesis and Free Will

 

Now one of the most obvious as well as one of the mostcommon of the "it can't be therefore it isn't" vs. "I know whatI saw" anomalies is with respect to your alleged free will. The mostobvious of all obvious facets about you is that you have free will. That's the"I know what I saw" bit. However, free will is generated somewhere /everywhere in, of and by the brain. Yet you have absolutely no free willcontrol over those external laws, relationships and principles of the physicalsciences that influences the brain; you have no control over your brain'schemistry; you have absolutely no control over how your neural network ishardwired; and of course you have absolutely no control over your geneticswhich must surely play a major role in all of this. Finally, there isabsolutely no explanatory mechanism that can explain how free will arises fromthose external laws, relationships and principles of the physical sciences.

 

Now no single brain cell has consciousness or free will.So therefore, how can the sum total of your brain cells have consciousness orfree will? Further yet, how can all of your brain cells (involved inconsciousness / free will) act together in unison to form a coherent state ofawareness or of consciousness or of free will? What happens if a third of yourbrain cells opt for choice X; a third opt for choice Y; a third opt for choiceZ? Is your brain a democratic system where the choice made by the majority ofyour brain cells is ultimately your free will choice that rules that scenario?The elephant in the room here is that both consciousness and free will have nocausal explanatory mechanism in place. One might just as well put consciousnessand free will down to magic. I sometimes think it is easier to opt for theexplanation that consciousness and free will are really an illusion than tohave to try and explain them.

 

So, your alleged free will "can't be and thereforeisn't". Special effects to the rescue? On the other hand, the definitivedemonstration and ultimate proof of free will would appear to be the only realway to refute the Simulation Hypothesis since any programming involved wouldalmost of necessity have to negate the free will of whatever is beingsimulated. 

 

The Simulation Hypothesis and Medicine

 

Since there is no brain or heart activity present duringa cardiac arrest (you have flatlined) and you are not breathing, you areconsidered to be clinically dead. Your mind and consciousness cannot befunctional. Yet a goodly percentage of cardiac arrest and clinically deadpatients who are resuscitated in time can relate exactly what was occurring tothem during the time while they were clinically dead! How can you haveawareness while undergoing cardiac arrest and when your EEG has flatlined? Thisissue is quite separate and apart from the OBE facet of the NDE (seeimmediately below).

 

The Simulation Hypothesis and Near Death / Out of BodyExperiences

 

Either there is an immaterial / non-physical component tothe human species or there is not.

 

If there is not, there can't be any such thing as NearDeath Experiences (NDEs) or Out of the Body Experiences (OBEs). Yet theseaspects part and parcel to the death and dying process have been postulated andrecorded by nearly all societies / cultures over nearly all of recordedhistory. How does that make any sense?

 

There seems to be here another case here of "Itcan't be therefore it isn't" relative to one of "I know what I saw /experienced." No matter what side of the fence you're on, you're damned ifyou're on one side and you're damned if you are on the other side. That said,the obvious alternative explanations are 1) experiences are all in the mind andjust mental delusions, or 2) people are deliberately perpetrating frauds andhoaxes. IMHO I don't think either one of these explanations are entirelycredible.

 

Let's examine the NDE and the OBE categories in turn andask whether or not special effects might be in play here.

 

Near Death Experiences (NDEs): An NDE does not of necessity include an Out of the BodyExperience (OBE) but that doesn't reduce the anomalous condition of the NDEwhich basically translates into human consciousness / spirit / psyche /essence, etc. surviving at least between your clinical death and yourirreversible death. You sense things even though you are clinically dead,although some would suggest that the mind / consciousness sees what it wants tosee during that clinical / irreversible death interval, and what it wants tosee are visions of the good afterlife. The eyes may be the visual organs butit's the brain that does the actual seeing. Neither eyes nor brains are presentand accounted for in NDEs. Nor are any other sensory organs. So how can aperson relate an NDE if that person in that immaterial state can't experienceanything external reality, being 100% deaf, blind, etc.? And by the way, ifhumans have NDEs, then presumably the higher animals - apes, dolphins,elephants, etc. - must also experience NDEs. In other words, even higheranimals (mammals / birds) probably have an interval between their clinicaldeath and irreversible death.

 

Out of Body Experiences (OBEs): As with NDEs, and closely enough related to NDEs toinclude them here, OBEs suffer from the exact same sort of impossibilities thatNDEs suffer from. In an OBE you are in a non-physical state and lack any andall of the sensory organs and sensory processing abilities that would give youthe ability to actually relate your OBE to others after-the-fact.

 

The Simulation Hypothesis and Deja Vu

 

If the flow of time is linear - past to present to future- you can't have a Deja vu experience. Yet nearly everyone has experienced atleast one Deja vu episode in their lifetime. This is explainable when onerealizes that a simulation can be rerun just like you can play and replay avideo game again and again. Now and again the exact same chain of events willunfold. If that happens, then perhaps the virtual being that experiences anidentical chain of events gets this uneasy sense of Deja Vu.



Science librarian; retired.

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