Cosmology Intelligent Design Naturalism

The universe simulates ITSELF?

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From the realm of pure thought?

How real are you? What if everything you are, everything you know, all the people in your life as well as all the events were not physically there but just a very elaborate simulation? Philosopher Nick Bostrom famously considered this in his seminal paper “Are you living in a computer simulation?,” where he proposed that all of our existence may be just a product of very sophisticated computer simulations ran by advanced beings whose real nature we may never be able to know. Now a new theory has come along that takes it a step further – what if there are no advanced beings either and everything in “reality” is a self-simulation that generates itself from pure thought?

The physical universe is a “strange loop” says the new paper titled “The Self-Simulation Hypothesis Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics” from the team at the Quantum Gravity Research, a Los Angeles-based theoretical physics institute founded by the scientist and entrepreneur Klee Irwin. They take Bostrom’s simulation hypothesis, which maintains that all of reality is an extremely detailed computer program, and ask, rather than relying on advanced lifeforms to create the amazing technology necessary to compose everything within our world, isn’t it more efficient to propose that the universe itself is a “mental self-simulation”? They tie this idea to quantum mechanics, seeing the universe as one of many possible quantum gravity models.

Paul Ratner, “New hypothesis argues the universe simulates itself into existence” at BigThink


According to classical reasoning, self-simulation wouldn’t make sense but maybe one must abandon classical reasoning to be in theoretical physics these days. Handy to know.

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

7 Replies to “The universe simulates ITSELF?

  1. 1
    Eugene says:

    Theories (or shall we say, speculations as I suspect they are not proposing any experimental tests for this idea?) are dime a dozen.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Their ‘hypothesis’ that “the universe simulates itself into existence”, if it is even worthy to be called a ‘hypothesis’, is self refuting nonsense. Self refuting nonsense that is on par with Krauss’s (and Dawkin’s) claim that the universe came from nothing,

    A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss (Author), Richard Dawkins (Afterword)

    And the title of the article, i.e. “the universe simulates itself into existence”, is not just hyperbole. Here are some more self-refuting quotes from the article:

    “the universe “self-actualizes” itself into existence,”
    “How would the simulation itself be originated? It was always there, say the researchers, explaining the concept of “timeless emergentism.”

    Apparently the laws of logic are of little use for these guys

    Is God Real? Evidence from the Laws of Logic
    J. Warner January 9, 2019
    Excerpt: All rational discussions (even those about the existence or non-existence of God) require the prior foundation of logical absolutes. You’d have a hard time making sense of any conversation if the Laws of Logic weren’t available to guide the discussion and provide rational boundaries. Here are three of the most important Laws of Logic you and I use every day:

    The Law of Identity
    Things “are” what they “are”. “A” is “A”. Each thing is the same with itself and different from another. By this it is meant that each thing (be it a universal or a particular) is composed of its own unique set of characteristic qualities or features.

    The Law of Non-Contradiction
    “A” cannot be both “A” and “Non-A” at the same time, in the same way and in the same sense. Contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time.

    The Law of Excluded Middle
    A statement is either true or false. For any proposition, either that proposition is true, or its negation is true. There is no middle position. For example, the claim that “A statement is either true or false” is either true or false.

    These logical rules are necessary in order for us to examine truth statements. We also need them to point out when someone is reasoning illogically. We use the Laws of Logic all the time; you couldn’t even begin to read or reason through this blog post if you didn’t employ these laws.

    Moreover, the claim that “the universe simulates itself into existence” suffers from the same philosophically self-refuting logical flaw as Krauss’s claim does. Namely, it assumes the universe, rather than God, as ‘the terminus of explanation.’

    Not Understanding Nothing – A review of A Universe from Nothing – Edward Feser – June 2012
    Excerpt: ,,, But Krauss simply can’t see the “difference between arguing in favor of an eternally existing creator versus an eternally existing universe without one.” The difference, as the reader of Aristotle or Aquinas knows, is that the universe changes while the unmoved mover does not, or, as the Neoplatonist can tell you, that the universe is made up of parts while its source is absolutely one; or, as Leibniz could tell you, that the universe is contingent and God absolutely necessary. There is thus a principled reason for regarding God rather than the universe as the terminus of explanation.

    They are apparently trying to make a model that is somehow compatible with panpsychism, As the article states,,

    “The scientists link their hypothesis to panpsychism”

    And the basic idea of panpsychism is analogous to pantheism

    The basic idea of panpsychism is analogous to pantheism, just replace “god” with “consciousness,” so all matter, and by extension, the universe, is conscious. There have been variations on this theme stretching back to ancient times — it is similar to ancient religions based on animism.

    For them to try to build a model that is compatible with panpsychism, (and/or with pantheism), explains a lot of their confusion.

    In regards to explaining the origin of the universe, Panpsychism and/or pantheism, to repeat, suffer from much the same fatal flaw as Krauss’s atheistic materialism does. As Stephen Meyer explains in this following video at the 14:25 minute mark,

    (Like Materialism), “Pantheism, the eastern worldview, also has a problem explaining the origin of the universe from nothing physical. Because Pantheism affirms that god is not a person. God is kind of a mystical unity that binds all of the material universe together. And god and matter are linked. They’re coextensive. god is in the flowers, in the trees, he’s in our bodies, he’s in the mountains. God and matter are coextensive.,,, But if you go back far enough (to the beginning of the universe), there is no matter, then there (can be) no god. In both cases, with the materialistic worldview and the pantheistic worldview, there is no entity separate from the universe itself that can be invoked to bring the universe into existence. To act as the cause of the universe itself.”
    – Stephen Meyer –
    A Cosmological Argument for God’s Existence, pt. 2 – Stephen Meyer on John Ankerberg – 4 competing hypothesis for explaining the origin of the universe

    Thus, (since they are committed to panpsychism), that explains why they are making such blatantly self refuting statements as “the universe “self-actualizes” itself into existence,”

    It does not get any better in the article. The subtitle and first sentence of the article reads as such,,,

    A physics paper proposes neither you nor the world around you are real.
    How real are you? What if everything you are, everything you know, all the people in your life as well as all the events were not physically there but just a very elaborate simulation?

    It is almost embarrassing to have to point this out but “simulations” are, by definition, not real but are models of what is real. So simulations, by definition, cannot be the ultimate definition for what we consider to be real.

    a model of a real activity,,,

    Of related interest to differentiating what is truly real from what is merely imaginary, I touched upon that topic in a post that I had written yesterday,

    although the Darwinian Atheist 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.


    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;

  3. 3
    Tom Robbins says:

    I think they are winding up at these conclusions as they realize that their was a power that brought everything into existence through pure desire or thought – they just can’t anchor it with GOD. After all, most of us think of creation as God “speaking” it into existence. Christ’s miracles: Jesus himself hinted that it was the power of sheer belief and trust (or faith) could move mountains. Since he was God, with just a thought he could reorganize matter, time, and space. But these knuckleheads keep pointing to an origin that is best explained by an all powerful and intelligent creator, but sense they don’t want to go there…. insert any ridiculous idea here – “self emergence” or a computer simulation, or a Holographic projection…etc. BTW, I believe in matter, time and space, I do not believe its an illusion or simulation. BUT, I do believe it is made by a MIND, and without that MIND, it all goes away – God holds every Atom in its vibrational state, etc.

  4. 4
    jcfrk101 says:

    Not sure how you simulate something that doesn’t compute.

  5. 5
    StephenB says:

    News writes, “According to classical reasoning, self-simulation wouldn’t make sense but maybe one must abandon classical reasoning to be in theoretical physics these days. Handy to know.”

    Don’t back off just as you are on the verge of hitting a home run. The whole point is that reason’s rules *take logical precedence* over scientific evidence because the former establishes the criteria for interpreting the latter in a rational way.

    Quantum physics is not exempt from the law of logic or the law of causality for one simple reason: evidence does not inform reason’s rules; reason’s rules inform evidence. If it were not so, the phenomenon of quantum mechanics could never have been discovered in the first place.

    A rational person already knows that a universe (even one that is eternal) could not move (or stimulate) itself for the same reason that it could not (if it were not eternal) bring itself into existence. In other words, a rational person knows that something that is not logically possible cannot suddenly become a physical reality. No amount of evidence can change that fact.

    The issue is not whether theoretical physicists can abandon logic in order to do legitimate science because, clearly, they cannot. The issue is whether the theoretical physicist is a rational or an irrational person.

  6. 6
    Fasteddious says:

    For some interesting possibilities that could occur in a simulated universe, see:

  7. 7
    dfriedman says:

    What an ungodly amount of time spent by bornagain77 attacking and pushing and proving Jesus as a cancelation of the creativity of the authors. Self simulation does sound kooky and full of holes, but let’s bring people together. Say something nice. Don’t repeat the same mistakes as Richard Dawkins in attacking the other “side”. Materialistic vs. Personal God is someone like 77s Life War (with no freedom from that war). Just stop and think, maybe, just maybe, noone can prove God either. But by celebrating and respecting diversity of thinking, we can have a joyous time discovering, together. “And 77s heart grew 3 sizes that day, welcoming all the surprises of the Universe and found his freedom.”

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