by John Hawkins | May 14, 2003 11:58 pm
Now The Matrix Has You — Really!: Imagine that you scrimp and save your entire life to send your kid to Oxford. Then when he gets there, he takes Philosophy 101 and it’s taught by this guy…
“…(A) philosophy professor who teaches at Oxford says there’s roughly a 20 percent chance that most humans today really are software-generated beings living in a virtual reality.
Dr. Nick Bostrom says there’s a good chance technology can mature to the point where life-like simulation programs are regularly run. If that’s the case, there’s no way of knowing whether right now you’re currently living in real history or a simulation of the year 2003.
However, he says its equally likely that humans will become extinct before they can develop such advanced computer simulations or lose their interest in simulations entirely.
Bostrom’s argument appears in the book, “Taking The Red Pill: Science, Philosophy and Religion in the Matrix” (BenBella Books).”
There’s a 20% chance we’re actually “living in a virtual reality”? How could he possibly come up with that number? I mean you might as well say that there is a 20% chance that we’re living in some giant’s ant farm or that our entire lives are only the dreams of Koala Bears.
On the other hand, maybe the “Matrix theory” is an improvement over the standard drivel that you get in Philosophy anyway. You know, if a tree falls on Yassir Arafat in the forest, does it make it a sound and is suicide bombing a greenhouse the proper way to respond? Then there’s, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Obviously the answer is that there were two hands attempting to clap for someone who was against Bush’s filthy war and one of the hands was silenced by Ashcroft’s brownshirts! Then there are other important philosophical questions like, “Why do I always get funny looks at job interviews when I tell them I’m a Philosophy major?”
So I guess it doesn’t make a big difference what this guy is teaching in his Philosophy course. Want to save some money on college classes? Just read a couple of Ayn Rand books and spend 10 minutes paging through an Objectivist web site and you’ll get a more out of it than taking a Philosophy 101.
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