Cosmology Intelligent Design Naturalism

Computer sim universe: An escape from the facts of fine-tuning?

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Walter Bradley Center fellows weigh in:

The idea that we are a simulation by space aliens is a staple of science fiction, of course (think The Matrix, 1999). But some scientists take this simulation hypothesis seriously.

Serious discussion started with a paper by philosopher Nick Bostrom in 2003, “Are you living in a computer simulation?” in which he suggests, “One thing that later generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their forebears.”…

Jonathan Bartlett offers,

The simulation hypothesis is interesting but it fails precisely because it is too loosely stated, and equivocates more than it clarifies.

The primary “proof” for the simulation hypothesis is that, let’s say that we could simulate a universe. If we do, there are now two universes, ours and the simulated one. In the simulated universe, if it succeeds, there will eventually be organisms that can also discover how to simulate a universe. Now we have three universes, and two of them are simulated. So, if you wake up in any universe, there is now a higher probability of a particular universe being simulated than the universe being real…”

“How do we know that our universe is not a sim world?” at Mind Matters News

It gets crazier. You will reach for sanity and not find it… 😉

See also: Tyson bombshell: Universe is likely just computer sim

12 Replies to “Computer sim universe: An escape from the facts of fine-tuning?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    To postulate that you live in a simulated universe is to presuppose a ‘real’ reference frame “above it all’ in which you can differentiate between what is a real universe and what is a simulated universe.

    The argument for a simulated universe reminds me very much of the self deception that Darwinists play on themselves when they deny that they themselves really exist as real persons.

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.”
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness
    By STEVEN PINKER – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
    Part II THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.
    http://www.academia.edu/279485.....sciousness

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004

    The Consciousness Deniers – Galen Strawson – March 13, 2018
    Excerpt: What is the silliest claim ever made? The competition is fierce, but I think the answer is easy. Some people have denied the existence of consciousness: conscious experience, the subjective character of experience, the “what-it-is-like” of experience.,,,
    Who are the Deniers?,,, Few have been fully explicit in their denial, but among those who have been, we find Brian Farrell, Paul Feyerabend, Richard Rorty, and the generally admirable Daniel Dennett.,,,
    http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2.....s-deniers/

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren’t in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe,, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn’t undergone what metaphysicians call a ‘substantial change’. So you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still.
    You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    The claim from Darwinian materialists that they are not really real persons, of course assumes that they have the capacity within themselves to differentiate real persons from illusory persons. David Bentley Hart succinctly puts the fatal flaw in Darwinian thinking as such, “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”

    The Illusionist – Daniel Dennett’s latest book marks five decades of majestic failure to explain consciousness. – 2017
    Excerpt: “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”
    – David Bentley Hart
    https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-illusionist

    David Bentley Hart’s critique, besides being devastating to Darwinian materialists, also goes to the heart of the ‘simulated universe’ argument.

    What is actually being presupposed as being ‘real’ in both the claim that we live in a simulated universe and in the claim that we do not actually exist as real persons, is consciousness itself. Simply put, consciousness itself is the unstated presupposition of ‘realness’ that Atheists, unbeknownst to themselves, presuppose as being real so as to give them a vantage point “above it all’ in order for them to deceive themselves into thinking that they have properly differentiated what is real from what is illusory.

    There simply is no way around this fact. Consciousness is the required prerequisite of all possible required perquisites for anything to be ‘real’ for us in the first place:

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

    Thus with the preceding line of evidence laid out for the prerequisite of consciousness for anything to be ‘real’ for us in the first place, the argument for the Mind of God from a ‘simulated’ universe becomes much easier to understand:

    Digital Physics Argument
    Premise 1: Simulations can only exist is a computer or a mind.
    Premise 2: The universe is a simulation.
    Premise 3: A simulation on a computer still must be simulated in a mind.
    Premise 4: Therefore, the universe is a simulation in a mind (2,3).
    Premise 5: This mind is what we call God.
    Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
    – Digital Physics Argument for God’s Existence – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2Xsp4FRgas

  2. 2
    FourFaces says:

    Nonlocality disproves the simulated universe hypothesis. All conservation laws are inherently nonlocal meaning that they apply to the entire universe, that is, every particle in it at every instant. This is like saying that every particle in the universe sees every other particle all the time. This is impossible to implement using an algorithmic simulation because every update would take forever.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 1

    To postulate that you live in a simulated universe is to presuppose a ‘real’ reference frame “above it all’ in which you can differentiate between what is a real universe and what is a simulated universe.

    That’s right. If all this is a simulation then there is presumably some sort of computing device that is running the simulation and some sort of intelligent agency that designed the simulation and the computer on which it is running. The problem is that if you and I are part of that simulation we’ll never know. Simulacra can never escape the virtual reality in which they are being simulated.

    The claim from Darwinian materialists that they are not really real persons, of course assumes that they have the capacity within themselves to differentiate real persons from illusory persons. David Bentley Hart succinctly puts the fatal flaw in Darwinian thinking as such, “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”

    Which is why not all Darwinian materialists – such as myself – make the nonsensical claim that we are illusions. Attacking that claim on the assumption that all materialists believe it is to attack a strawman.

    The differentiation problem is that illusions, dreams, delusions and, we assume, objective reality are all experienced by us within the same internally-constructed mental model so how do we distinguish between them? Dreams, for example, can be convincingly real at the time we experience them. I once dreamed of going into work on a very ordinary morning in an office building where I had worked for years. I greeted co-workers, whom I had also known for years, as I made my way to my desk. But when I woke up I realized I had never worked in such a place and I had never known the people in the dream. Yet, while I was in the dream, the sense of recognition was immediate and strong. There does seem to be a qualitative difference between the experience of what we assume to be objective reality and the dream experience but we are only aware of it after the dream event. Unless you are one of the approximately 50% of people who are lucky enough to be capable of lucid dreaming.

    There simply is no way around this fact. Consciousness is the required prerequisite of all possible required perquisites for anything to be ‘real’ for us in the first place:

    Consciousness is the prerequisite for the capacity to experience ‘reality’ although if, as you seem to believe at times, reality only exists when we are aware of it, in what sense is it real? But to be conscious is to be conscious of something, a “something” that must pre-exist the consciousness that becomes aware of it. So which comes first, the conscious ‘chicken’ or the real ‘egg’?

    Premise 2: The universe is a simulation.

    I don’t concede that.

    Premise 5: This mind is what we call God.

    The mind that created the simulation need not be the Christian God. I don’t think most Christians think of God as a giant video-games designer.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky states that

    not all Darwinian materialists – such as myself – make the nonsensical claim that we are illusions. Attacking that claim on the assumption that all materialists believe it is to attack a strawman.

    I did not claim that ALL materialists make that claim. After all it is, or should be, the very definition of a ‘SELF-refuting” claim.

    But what I do claim is that if you logically follow the premises of reductive materialism out to their bitter end, then you are driven to the logical conclusion that consciousness, and ‘personhood’ in particular, must necessarily be an illusion of the material brain:

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren’t in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe,, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn’t undergone what metaphysicians call a ‘substantial change’. So you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still.
    You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    Moreover in post #1, I quoted several prominent thinkers in the atheistic community that have followed the logic of materialism out to its bitter end and have concluded that consciousness must be an ‘illusion’. Thus you can claim it is a strawman argument all you want, but the fact of the matter is that I have argued against what materialism itself actually entails and I have not argued against the varying beliefs amongst atheists as to what their worldview actually entails. (Frankly, I would rather herd cats than do that).

    You see Seversky, to put it simply as I can, the entire concept of ‘personhood’ is an abstract, i.e. immaterial, concept that simply can find no grounding within your materialistic worldview.

    Besides ‘personhood’, there are an entire universe of abstract, immaterial, objects that everyone, including atheists. hold as being real, and yet, since they are necessarily immaterial, those abstract objects can find no grounding within your materialistic worldview, and therefore necessarily become ‘illusory’ for the materialist. In fact, mathematics itself, the very backbone of science itself, is abstract and immaterial and thus can find no grounding within your materialistic worldview.

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Even the entire ‘abstract’ concept of species becomes illusory within the Darwinist’s materialistic worldview:

    Darwin, Design & Thomas Aquinas
    The Mythical Conflict Between Thomism & Intelligent Design by Logan Paul Gage
    Excerpt: Denial of True Species
    Enter Darwinism. Recall that Darwin sought to explain the origin of “species.” Yet as he pondered his theory, he realized that it destroyed species as a reality altogether. For Darwinism suggests that any matter can potentially morph into any other arrangement of matter without the aid of an organizing principle. He thought cells were like simple blobs of Jell-O, easily re-arrangeable. For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes:
    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    Statements like this should make card-carrying Thomists shudder.,,,
    The first conflict between Darwinism and Thomism, then, is the denial of true species or essences. For the Thomist, this denial is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge. As philosopher Benjamin Wiker observes in Moral Darwinism, Darwin reduced species to “mere epiphenomena of matter in motion.” What we call a “dog,” in other words, is really just an arbitrary snapshot of the way things look at present. If we take the Darwinian view, Wiker suggests, there is no species “dog” but only a collection of individuals, connected in a long chain of changing shapes, which happen to resemble each other today but will not tomorrow.
    https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-06-037-f

    Thus for Charles Darwin to write a book entitled “Origin of Species” whilst at the same time, due to his reductive materialism, denying the existence of “true species” is obviously an exercise in self-refuting futility.

    Moreover, to make this dilemma even more devastating to the Darwinian materialist, it turns out that atoms themselves are not the solid indivisible concrete particles, as they were originally envisioned to be by materialists, but it turns out that the descriptions we now use to describe atoms themselves, the further down we go, dissolve into “abstract conceptual tools for describing nature, which themselves seem to lack any real, concrete essence.,,,”

    Physics Is Pointing Inexorably to Mind
    So-called “information realism” has some surprising implications
    By Bernardo Kastrup – March 25, 2019
    Excerpt: according to the Greek atomists, if we kept on dividing things into ever-smaller bits, at the end there would remain solid, indivisible particles called atoms, imagined to be so concrete as to have even particular shapes. Yet, as our understanding of physics progressed, we’ve realized that atoms themselves can be further divided into smaller bits, and those into yet smaller ones, and so on, until what is left lacks shape and solidity altogether. At the bottom of the chain of physical reduction there are only elusive, phantasmal entities we label as “energy” and “fields”—abstract conceptual tools for describing nature, which themselves seem to lack any real, concrete essence.,,,
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/physics-is-pointing-inexorably-to-mind/

    In fact, according to quantum theory, the most fundamental ‘stuff’ of the world is not even matter or energy, (as Darwinian materialists presuppose) but is immaterial information itself

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information”
    (48:35 minute mark)
    “In the beginning was the Word”
    John 1:1 (49:54 minute mark)
    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT
    https://youtu.be/s3ZPWW5NOrw?t=2984

    Thus, in irony of ironies, not even the material particles themselves turn to be are ‘real’ and concrete, (on the materialistic definition of what is ‘real’ and concrete), but turn out to be “abstract” immaterial information.

    This puts the die-hard materialist in quite the conundrum because, as Bernardo Kastrup further explains, to make sense of this conundrum of a non-material world of pure abstractions we must ultimately appeal to an immaterial mind. i.e. we must ultimately appeal to God!

    Physics Is Pointing Inexorably to Mind
    So-called “information realism” has some surprising implications
    By Bernardo Kastrup – March 25, 2019
    Excerpt: “To make sense of this conundrum,,, we must stick to what is most immediately present to us: solidity and concreteness are qualities of our experience. The world measured, modeled and ultimately predicted by physics is the world of perceptions, a category of mentation. The phantasms and abstractions reside merely in our descriptions of the behavior of that world, not in the world itself.,,,
    Where we get lost and confused is in imagining that what we are describing is a non-mental reality underlying our perceptions, as opposed to the perceptions themselves. We then try to find the solidity and concreteness of the perceived world in that postulated underlying reality. However, a non-mental world is inevitably abstract. And since solidity and concreteness are felt qualities of experience—what else?—we cannot find them there. The problem we face is thus merely an artifact of thought, something we conjure up out of thin air because of our theoretical habits and prejudices.,,,
    As I elaborate extensively in my new book, The Idea of the World, none of this implies solipsism. The mental universe exists in mind but not in your personal mind alone. Instead, it is a transpersonal field of mentation that presents itself to us as physicality—with its concreteness, solidity and definiteness—once our personal mental processes interact with it through observation. This mental universe is what physics is leading us to, not the hand-waving word games of information realism.
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/physics-is-pointing-inexorably-to-mind/

    Or to put it much more simply, as Physics professor Richard Conn Henry put it at the end of the following article, “The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.”

    The mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry
    The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.
    Excerpt: “The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.”
    – Richard Conn Henry is a Professor in the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

    Of supplemental note:

    The Darwinian materialist, in his rejection of God, simply has no anchor for reality to grab onto:

    As I have pointed out several times now, assuming Naturalism instead of Theism as the worldview on which all of science is based leads to the catastrophic epistemological failure of science itself.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft).
    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    – Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification – video – 39:45 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/8rzw0JkuKuQ?t=2387

    Thus, although the Darwinist may firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  5. 5
    Eugene says:

    FourFaces@2,

    Humans are both naive and arrogant. For some reason people go to assume that “simulation” is being performed using technology which is conceptually similar to what we use to simulate a 3D computer game. This is just lame. …Why not instead assume that “they” can re-compute the state for every atom or even for every elementary particle (that is 1^80 .. 1^90 states) as often as, say, 1^30 times per second? This then takes care of all available nonlocality just fine.
    Further, the simulation could be performed not even in a strictly computational “pure virtual” form, but as a mixture of some physical processes, assisted by some computing power. …The way the quantum states are computed by “nature”(?) to account for all possible paths and states in parallel may be a good hint on the workings of the simulation “engine”. And then there is the random number generator which is somehow also part of the same “nature”. To me this all looks rather suspicious.
    Ultimately though, the point is that our reality is very likely not the most basic reality out there. It is a created one.

  6. 6
    FourFaces says:

    Eugene @5,
    You start an argument by accusing the person you disagree with of being arrogant and naive? Be cool.

    1^30 times per second? This then takes care of all available nonlocality just fine.

    If you truly understood time and motion, you would know that it’s impossible to move faster than the speed of light for a reason, not just for grins and giggles. The reason is both strange and simple. In a discrete reality (there can be no other kind), bodies move by making jumps at the speed of light, each happening over a minute fundamental distance known as the Planck length and a minute fundamental interval known as the Planck time. Thus the speed of light is the only possible speed. Nothing can move faster or slower. If something appears to move at half the speed of light it’s because it is at rest half the time. At ordinary speeds, moving bodies are at rest almost all the time. So the speed of change that would be required to simulate the universe would break the laws of reality.

    Ultimately though, the point is that our reality is very likely not the most basic reality out there. It is a created one.

    No disagreement here, as far as it being created, that is. The notion of one reality existing inside another (simulation) doesn’t hold water, IMO.

  7. 7
    Eugene says:

    FourFaces @6,

    The reference to humans being naive and arrogant was not a personal one. It is a generalization for mostly everything I have seen so far written about the simulation idea. (See http://www.my-big-toe.com as just one example).
    I definitely do not truly understood time and motion, I am afraid no one does. My favorite derivation for the speed of light comes from Richard Conn Henry “The Physics of our Universe” where it is just the metric of our space (-time) which happens to be
    ds^2 = dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2 – dt^2 (where the unit of time is simply scaled by c^2). Again, no one knows why this is so, but in our “reality” this is what it is.
    The laws of reality are obviously just the laws of “our” reality. They could mean nothing to the simulation engine.

  8. 8
    Fasteddious says:

    Simulating a universe is not as hard as it may seem at first. You do not need to model every particle, nor even every human being. You just need to control the sensations reaching each “real” mind, as in the Matrix movies. Thus, for example, particle physics only needs to be modelled accurately when some “real” person is doing a particle physics experiment. Similarly, most of the apparent humans around us may just be simulated constructs (AKA digital zombies?).
    The actual amount of data that a human can absorb and process as incoming sensations is quite low. Even your visual perception is mostly a mental construct or model, which your brain creates and maintains to make sense of the data from your eyes. You see details only in the foveal area of your vision. The rest of your visual field is quite fuzzy. Thus, you probably do not even need HD quality of sensations to simulate human vision, so a few megabits per second should be more than enough for all your incoming sensations, perceptions, and outgoing control signals.
    The simulating computer (or whatever) would need to have a good model of your immediate world in order to give you a coherent sense of reality. All the world’s books and data are already stored on our own computers, so keeping track of “reality” to maintain consistency should not be too hard. A few thousand “real” people might be enough to maintain the illusion of a huge population, a real world and a complete universe. After all, except for telescopes, we cannot see much detail in stars or galaxies, and it is surely easy to simulate telescope views. Of course, the simulator would have to be very clever to keep up with our scientific experiments, finding new things about “nature”. Also, the simulation models would have to get more complicated as we look deeper into various aspects of “reality”. Perhaps that “explains” why physics has become so unreal and esoteric with weird quantum effects, undetectable aspects, and relativity conundrums? We are pushing the limits of the simulator’s ability to maintain the illusion.
    Lots of fun speculating, but I’ll stick to my belief that the universe is “real” – whatever that means.

  9. 9
    doubter says:

    I think that the case for our reality being some form of virtual reality hyper-computer simulation is fairly compelling, but still not totally convincing to me at least. There is first the issue of how humans figure into the scheme. Dyson and other materialists imagine that human beings are also part of this simulation software, but this is of course untenable – the so-called “hard problem” of consciousness and a large body of evidence shows that although human consciousness is usually in life tied to material brains it is not of these material neural structures and can separate from the physical body. So if there is any truth to the simulation theory (or is it merely a metaphor?) we must be the observers or participants or users of it, not part of it.

    The case seems compelling because of the way the analogy of an iterative computer calculation/simulation makes sense of quantum mechanical phenomena. All the philosophical, metaphysical and spiritual implications of such a theory are irrelevant to the likely truth of the theory based on its great explanatory power. I think that Ross Rhodes makes some key points on this, summarized in his paper A Cybernetic Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics at http://www.mysearch.org.uk/website1/pdf/615.1.pdf.

    Just one part of this analysis is examination of the way electromagnetic waves are not really waves in any sort of medium, but behave exactly as if they are waves of calculation:

    The matter was further complicated in the 1920s when it was shown that objects — everything from electrons to the chair on which you sit — exhibit exactly the same wave properties as light, and suffer from exactly the same lack of any medium. One way to resolve this seeming paradox of waves without medium is to note that there remains another kind of wave altogether. A wave with which we are all familiar, yet which exists without any medium in the ordinary sense.

    This is the computer-generated wave. Let us examine a computer-generated sound wave. Imagine the following set up. A musician in a recording studio plays a synthesizer, controlled by a keyboard. It is a digital synthesizer which uses an algorithm (programming) to create nothing more than a series of numbers representing what a sampling of points along the desired sound wave would look like if it were played by a “real” instrument. The synthesizer’s output is routed to a computer and stored as a series of numbers. The numbers are burned into a disk as a series of pits that can be read by a laser — in other words, a CD recording. The CD is shipped to a store. You buy the CD, bring it home, and put it in your home entertainment system, and press the play button. The”music” has traveled from the recording studio to your living room. Through what medium did the music wave travel? To a degree, you might say that it traveled as electricity through the wires from the keyboard to the computer. But you might just as well say it traveled by truck along the highway to the store. In fact, this”sound wave” never existed as anything more than a digital representation of a hypothetical sound wave which itself never existed. It is, first and last, a string of numbers. Therefore, although it will produce wavelike effects when placed in your stereo, this wave never needed any medium other than the computer memory to spread itself all over the music.

    Actually, I still don’t subscribe to this hypothesis. Along with other objections, there is the reductio ad absurdum of the inescapable infinite regress of higher realities – if our realm is a simulation, then the higher reality of the simulation computer(s) may itself be a simulation, and so on ad infinitum.

  10. 10
    Tom Robbins says:

    The bottom line is they know from all that they have found that our universe is engineered – not just fine tuned but engineered to be just the way it is – so it is a simulation – God made it by thinking or speaking it into assistance, so its simulated in the mind of God. Notice this and the Holographic universe, and the multiverse, are all forms of atheists religious philosophy – all of them have a creator, in their case its just either that in the beginning was the great code writing simulation gods, or in the beginning their was something that stored the data on a 2D disk and projected us into 3D (all made from highly specified information so it must have a mind behind it especially when the 3D projection is fine-tuned), or in the beginning was a system that created so many universes that it created one fine tuned one. BTW, if we can’t explain life in THIS universe without admitting the DNA enigma forces us to admit intelligence is required, then the multiverse is a mute point…so the multiverse is a distraction…

  11. 11
    Eugene says:

    At the end of the day, we know that the “nature” is already perfectly capable of computing the quantum states for our entire universe non-locally across both space and time (see the delayed quantum eraser experiments). Our quantum computing efforts are just trying to harness some of that enormous computing power for our humble practical needs. Now, whether the computing engine for the universe is outside of our universe, or it is the universe itself (that is, we exist inside the computing engine, aka inside the Creator Mind or something) is likely less important. The quantum state computations of an enormous scale are happening somewhere nonetheless.

  12. 12
    FourFaces says:

    Eugene @11,

    In my opinion, there is no computation going on. Nonlocality is due to two things:
    1. Distance is an illusion of the mind.
    2. All conservation laws derive from one master principle: all things must sum up to nothing. That is, the universe is ONE.

    Nature automatically tries to get rid of violations to the conservation of nothing by maintaining a universal balance between positive and negative properties or states. Hence, nonlocality. All changes and movements in the universe are driven by this principle. There’s no need for computations. The principle simply correct temporary violations to the necessity that everything must amount to nothing. There’s only one nothing and this is what is meant by everything is ONE.

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