Thursday, March 26, 2009

Are You Living In a Computer Simulation?

Don't laugh just yet. A professor at Oxford, Nick Bostrom, a few years ago published a scholarly article which examines the possibility of our reality being, in fact, a computer simulation rather than what we might call a "real" reality, or a "first reality." I've read it, and its logic is undeniable. It is so astonishing, actually, that one fellow commented this:

"The Simulation Argument is perhaps the first interesting argument for the existence of a Creator in 2000 years."

And I agree with that. I've studied religion. I've studied philosophy. (Although I'm certainly no academic, and a number of years of partying have certainly diminished my faculties and memory, to be honest.) Religion relies on faith and, frankly, not asking too many questions. Now I'm not talking about any PARTICULAR religion, simply religious faith in general. Faith is a separate consideration from logic. And none of this DENIES any religious beliefs, actually. It's just that the great religions of the world were not created in an atmosphere of criticism or debate, and were never intended to be scientifically scrutinized in their original forms, because, simply, science was a creation of the Greeks, formally speaking (although they didn't call it science) and did not exist in other cultures, other religious-making cultures. Religions do not have very interesting arguments on their side, by default.
My point is, this "simulation argument" can be taken as an extremely logical suggestion that a "supreme being," so to speak, does exist, most likely. It's still rather vague, and but it does suggest that God is a lot more than some white-bearded fellow sitting on a gold throne in the clouds sort-of-thing. Read the argument for yourself. Do a search on google, if you like, too.
Note: To really blow your mind, watch The Matrix after a couple of hours of reading about this stuff. As Keanu Reeves would say, "Duuuuude."


KeelanParham said...

Interesting. There's a recent episode about this very thing on my Ipod right now. I just haven't had the time to listen to it. It's an episode of my favorite radio show ever, Coast to Coast AM. I subscribe to it, and listen to an episode basically every day.

Personally, I have a slightly different take Socrates' saying, "A life unexamined is not worth living".

I believe "A FAITH unexamined is not worth believing". Have you ever read CS Lewis, Tim? A truly BRILLIANT man, his "Mere Christianity" really changed how I saw my beliefs. And, truthfully, there are parts of it that aren't far from what you're talking about here. Also, a book I read last year, "The Physics of Christianity", by Frank J. Tipler, was extremely profound and lines up with this pretty darn close.

Tim Gardner said...

Hey, Keelan, thanks for taking an interest my blog. I just now noticed your comment after I "further explained" myself in the next post. ...Anyway, CS Lewis was very popular with my group of friends back in college. We liked to sit around and talk about all this stuff very seriously, and gnash our teeth and pull our hair out and generally suffer oh so seriously. But Lewis, of course, is a real marvel. Just wish I could remember more... And as far as "examining faith" goes, that was a big theme back in college too, as I think it should be for all people at all times. But I think it's an idea specifically popularized by modern protestantism and the general scientific mind-set of Western civilization. One simply cannot imagine the normal masses of people throughout history (and even today) really wanting to think much about their religion or faith. We tend to answer the big questions of life very early, and never revisit 'em. Otherwise, they get in the way of everything else and often will, really, screw-up your life and then you have...ME! But, you know, Keelan, if you can balance deep meditation on these subjects and simultaneously maintain that busy life of you and your family and your art career, you really ARE Superman. My hat's off to you. ...And "The Physics of Christianity": What an excellent title. Sounds very interesting. But I've never heard of it.

Anonymous said...

'The Physics of Christianity', wow, now that's an oxymoron.
Hav'a stimulating simulation of a day, Tim.

Keelan said...

NOT an oxymoron at all. I'm gonna take a wild guess and say you haven't read it!

Tim Gardner said...

Hey, Keelan, I thought about not allowing that comment (in "Comment Moderation") but I thought I'd go ahead and let it through, in the spirit of open debate. I wonder if it's someone we know...?