Mailbag Monday: A weekly segment that covers readers' questions and concerns about all things Philosophy, Bro, and Philosophy Bro that don't quite fit anywhere else. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Mailbag Monday' in the subject line.
Hey Philosophy Bro,I've been hearing a lot recently on the simulation argument..any chance you wanna try and tackle it? You've explained everything else it seems like.Oh man, the simulation argument. Alright, look. The simulation argument falls into the category of Cartesian Mindfucks, the sort of arguments that ask, "Is the universe really, truly the way we perceive it to be or are we somehow being deceived?"
This particular argument proceeds by presenting three different propositions, at least one of which is probably true. Those three propositions are, in a nutshell: (1). We'll probably go extinct before we evolve past humanity, to what the original author calls "posthumanity", (2) If we do achieve posthumanity, we won't really care enough to run tons of simulations of our ancestors, or (3) We are living in a simulation.
At face value, it's easy to see how one of those has to be true. Let's say there's this race of superbros who are technologically way the fuck ahead of us. That's not hard to imagine - you're likely reading this on a computer that is thousands of times more powerful than the very first supercomputers, built only decades ago, and they stored those fuckers in entire rooms. Imagine the shit we'll have in a couple centuries - crazy fast computing. Ridiculous. So let's say these bros have that level of technology. They could, if they wanted to, run simulations of human evolution, right down to the very thoughts of each simulated person. In fact, they could run millions of these things. And if the did run these things, then the chances that we're a simulation, instead of a race that will eventually run simulations, is literally millions-to-one. Those are not good odds, kids. Either we're almost definitely a simulation, or these simulations just don't happen.