Let’s discuss free will for a second. The problem is as follows:
If the world is completely material, and everything in it (including our mind) arises out of this world, how can free will exist? What could possibly give rise to such a thing in a world of matter interacting with other matter according to the laws of physics?
It appears therefore, that if there is free will, and it cannot arise out of a material world, then either:
a) The world is not completely material, or
b) Free will arises from something that comes from outside this world.
One question I often hear when discussing the idea that we might live in a simulation that has a conscious creator, is the following —
Suppose it’s true, and this world was created by someone. But who created the creator? Aren’t we just pushing the same question one level down?
And of course, it’s true. We are. But instead of assuming that’s a bad thing and moving on, let’s try to dig deeper into what it might mean. For instance:
With regards to this world, we examined our options (pure agnosticism vs revealed religion vs deism vs atheism)…
Something peculiar is happening throughout the western world. As the rate of people who identify with known religions declines, and as the rate of people who identify as non-religious increases, religious warfare — and the use of dogmatic arguments in all aspects of our life — seems to be on the rise.
You haven’t posted the right image on your twitter bio? Blasphemer!
You claimed that there are only two sexes and they might differ in certain characteristics? Heretic!
Your hiring policy does not advantage a certain group of people over others? Kafir!
You didn’t wear…
The final element of any paradigm is epistemology: given the set of assumptions / axioms on which the paradigm stands — what can we discover and know with certainty (contingent on the assumptions being true, of course)?
In revealed religion, the word of god is infallible at every level. God didn’t just create everything — he also revealed some very specific truths about his creation, and any further inquiry risks contradicting this revelation. This is a problem, as it inevitably leads to
a) arbitrary limits on scientific inquiry, and
b) the breakdown of the religion itself over time, as new…
We’ve examined the flaws with theist and atheist ethical framework, so it is now time to consider whether a deist assumption can result in something better.
We’ve also defined the basic purpose of behavior in a simulation as:
Our default speculative assumption could then be, that actions that increase the chances of these purposes being attained are good, and actions that decrease the chances of these purposes being attained are bad. …
A coherent philosophy of life needs to provide at least one mode of evaluation that helps determine whether a particular action is good or bad, and whether one action is better or worse than another. To this end, it is enough to propose one coherent ethical framework (even if it may not be the only one) to turn a “religious” doctrine into an ethical one.
Let’s start by examining the existing options.
In the theist ethical framework, good things are good because God said they are good, and bad things are bad because God said they are bad. …
We concluded in our previous article that revealed religions are flawed because of how many unnecessary (and unsubstantiated) assumptions they make; and we concluded that atheism is flawed because:
a) It too requires many non-trivial assumptions about how the world came about, and
b) It does not provide any meaningful or actionable answers to the questions of meaning, purpose, or morality.
By process of elimination, it seems we are stuck with the last option — the assumption that there was a creator but that all revelations about him are unsubstantiated.
Let’s break this assumption down into 3 key parts:
Let us start from the two most basic questions in religion:
Therefore, it seems evident that the only religious position that is truly evidence-based is Agnosticism.
However, therein lies the problem — a religious position that posits a complete lack of a religious position is not very satisfying. It offers no morality; no purpose; no meaning. And it appears, from everything we can observe about humans so far, that humans have a strong yearning for these.
As much as we’d like to build an…
Imagine you’re a software engineer. In the year 5781. The hardware department in your company has just completed the construction of Deepest Blu — the most powerful supercomputer ever built. It is so powerful that, perhaps, it may even be sufficient to simulate an entire universe (albeit a simpler one than the one you inhabit) on a single machine.
You pitch the idea of a simulation to your boss and, to your surprise, she says “go for it!” and gives you a break from your other tasks. You disappear into your cubicle for 6 days straight and.. voila! …
A non-random person having non-random thoughts.