The idea that we are already inside a simulation is in a sense true anyway (if we define “simulation” as the possibility of being described as emergent from a computational substrate). Nick Bostrom, the director of Oxford University’s 'Future of Humanity Institute', and others became famous with such ideas, see Simulation Hypothesis on Wikipedia.


The holographic universe: A “simulation” anyway!


Vice magazine now has an interview with NASA scientist Richard J. Terrile, who appeared on “Through the Wormhole”, a Science Channel show, where Richard discussed that our experience is something like advanced “The Sims”.


Richard J. Terrile


kotaku.com compares to the matrix without criticism. Vice.com has a lot of great articles and dares to talk straight on issues like the “war on drugs” and US mass incarceration, and their interview of Richard, or at least the title of the article by Ben Makuch, suggests first-semester philosophy students’ weed-epiphanies: Whoa, Dude, Are We Inside a Computer Right Now?


Illustration: Julian Garcia, from vice.com


Self-defined skeptics like those on Science Blogs and Free Thought Blogs are usually all over creationists, bashing them for every tiny comment on planted fossils. Yet because Bostrom and people like Degrasse Tyson, or say anything to do with NASA, belong to the scientism team, "our team", they are left untouched. But make no mistake: The idea is not that evolution made us and thereby computers and in turn thereby our world as a simulation. The idea is that there is fundamentally no difference between simulation and evolved world, so that the world is perfectly well described as created by the simulator, which makes evolution just a story that perhaps is there to hide the creator.


Open Letter to Richard Terrile (Cc: Nick Bostrom, Ray Kurzweil):


Dear Richard!


In your interview on vice.com, you defend the simulation hypothesis. There are criticisms that I as a physicist could make. For example, quantum mechanics (QM) neither proves pixilation nor a finite universe, and reducing QM to “You see what you need to see” misses the core of that physics, for example apparent non-locality (which is unnecessary and atypical in todays video game experience!). As a philosopher, I could come down harshly on the opinion that mere speed of calculation proves anything about the possibility of self-conscious algorithms.


However, on a site like VICE and in such an interview situation, profound scientific issues easily become confused and perhaps editing also distorted your real opinion.


I therefore read as charitable as possible, which leaves only well meaning questions and no criticism – so please do not take the following as criticism, but as a question that I think you owe an answer to [and Nick Bostrom or perhaps even Ray Kurzweil (who has slightly similar ideas but does not as far as I know fall into the simulation-now hypothesis category) may like to answer this question as it applies to them, too].


You put forward “You see exactly what you need to see” as a support of the simulation hypothesis, because video games are programmed precisely like that. Evolution theory explains this very differently, namely by selected efficiency of the perceiving system (not the simulating system): perception and brain calculation is very resource intensive, thus natural selection ensures that they are optimized that way. In other words, you propose that the simulator (creator of our world) deceives us for pure efficiency of calculation (though that should be unnecessary with ever more speed of calculation).


So my question is this: Do you hold the fossil record to be planted as a deception (simulated)? It has been argued that some creationists feel that this is the case since god wants to test our faith (this may be largely a strawman argument put forward by new atheists). You are also a creationist, you also hold that the fossils are planted (simulated) and do therefore hide the fact of creation, and the only difference is that in your opinion, the creator's motivation for hiding may be practical [but you do not as far as I know, for example, argue that the creator is forced to simulate evolution and quantum mechanics because of the constraints on her own consistent existence*]. So once more, the question is very simple:


Are you holding the fossil record to be planted by a creator?


Please do not answer about the 'sciency' nature of the creator in order to distract from the core question, because the issue here is not the simulation hypothesis, but strictly whether you support creationism in its rejection of the fossil record as planted/simulated while other 'sciency' people demand that creationists may not even be teachers. This is a simple yes or no question.


Best regards


Sascha

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*For example, one could propose that if the creator does not simulate evolution, the simulation cannot be her self-creation, because it is not indistinguishible from not-simulated evolution.



Related on Alphameme:

Mix Science and God correctly or Don't

Simulation Hypothesis and other Religious Stuff

Modest Agnostics expect Multiverse and hold Many-Worlds True