matter in the raw, and god or simulationeer must be a monster, capable of near-infinitely sadistic cruelty: Iain M. Banks, the moral argument for their nonexistence, our existence.

You know there is a theory … that all that we experience as reality is just a simulation, a kind of hallucination that has been imposed upon us.

…how can we know that our own reality is the last, the final one? How do we know there is not still a greater reality external to our own into which we might awake?

There are those who hold that, statistically, we must live in a simulation; the chances are too extreme for this not to be true.

If we assume that all we have been told is as real as what we ourselves experience–in other words, that history, with all it torturings, massacres and genocides, is true–then, if it is all somehow under the control of somebody or some thing, must not those running that simulation be monsters? How utterly devoid of decency, pity and compassion would they have to be to allow this to happen, and keep on happening under their explicit control? …

War, famine, disease, genocide. Death, in a million different forms, often painful and protracted for the poor individual wretches involved. What god would so arrange the universe to predispose its creations to experience such suffering, or be the cause of it in others? What master of simulations or arbitrator of a game would set up the initial conditions to the same pitiless effect? God or programmer, the charge would be the same: that of a near-infinitely sadistic cruelty; deliberate, premeditated barbarism on an unspeakably horrific scale.

By this reasoning we must, after all, be at the most base level of reality–or at the most exalted, however one wishes to look at it. Just as reality can blithely exhibit the most absurd coincidences that no credible fiction could convince us of, so only reality–produced, ultimately, by matter in the raw–can be so unthinkingly cruel. Nothing able to think, nothing able to comprehend culpability, justice or morality could encompass such purposefully invoked savagery without representing the absolute definition of evil. It is that unthinkingness that saves us. And condemns us, too, of course; we are as a result our own moral agents, and there is no escape from that responsibility, no appeal to a higher power that might be said to have artificially constrained or directed us.

— Iain M. Banks, Matter, 2009, 338-340

Attila Richard Lukacs, S.H.A.R.P.