Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there any way to prove/disprove we are in a computer simulation in some transcendental reality?

Even if we are "really" not in a simulation, can we ever prove so? Even if some messages/evidence flashing "You are in a simulation by an Overlord" pops up, can we always dismiss it as a naturalistic hallucination?

Can quantum mechanics apply to closed systems? MWI and consistent histories are candidates, but run into the preferred basis/choice of consistent histories problem. Copenhagen requires a transcendental observer and a Heisenberg cut, doesn't it? If there is a transcendental observer, doesn't that imply there has to be a transcendental realm? So, if our universe is a subsystem in some transcendental realm which can perform, and only perform, Turing computable computations, isn't that equivalent to saying our universe is a computer simulation in some transcendental realm? This doesn't necessarily imply there is some Overlord who is an Intelligent Designer Programmer. It could be an Overlord who is a "Blind Watchmaker" transcendental observer. This Overlord might be deist or an occasional interventionist.

In Copenhagen, in order for something to exist, it has to be observed, right? That means we need an "all-seeing eye in the sky" transcendental Overlord, right? If this Overlord forgets about us, we die, and pop out of existence, right?

share|cite|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Emilio Pisanty, dmckee Mar 5 '13 at 15:44

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Perhaps you should look up 'brain in a vat', it's basically a thought experiment in philosophy. From my own experience, I'd say it's impossible to prove or disprove it using logic. – OmnipresentAbsence Mar 5 '13 at 13:43
Possible duplicates: and links therein. – Qmechanic Mar 5 '13 at 13:52
For several points of view, check out the simulation hypothesis as well as Luboš Motl's recent blog post We don't live in a simulation. – Keep these mind Mar 5 '13 at 15:25
Also look at the "Linked" sidebar of 759, this has been brought up repeatedly. In general you should try searching before asking (and indeed the system presented you with some search results when you types the question title). – dmckee Mar 5 '13 at 15:43