Friday, May 09, 2008

The great filter

There's been some really interesting stuff on aliens, God, simulated reality and the beginning of life by Nick Bostrom and Tyler Cowen in the past week or so. Tyler Cowen thinks that the most rational thing to do is believe that we were artificially created, either by God or by aliens.

When I tell people about the simulation argument they normally just laugh and tell me I'm crazy, but they don't usually tell me what's wrong with it. David Lewis, who was apparently one of the better philosophers of the 20th century, once said "I cannot refute an incredulous stare." I laugh every time I think of this quote and I think it applies here. I'll also say again that I can think of few topics where our instincts and intuitions are less relevant than this one.

Here's a quote from Tyler Cowen's post.

... I am struck by the tension between the Fermi paradox with the "We are probably living in a simulation" claim.  Both are popular with the same group of people because they are nerdy ways of making you believe something weird...

Ouch.

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