Religions claim that God or gods have created this world. The simulation hypothesis explains that we might live inside a computer simulation run by an advanced post-human civilisation. But can we know that this is the case? The book The Virtual Universe: Evidence Demonstrating That an Advanced Post-Human Civilisation Has Created Us explores the evidence. A revised simulation argument may establish that we live inside a simulation. Using the information this universe gives us, we might even discover the purpose of our existence.
The argument works like so:
- If this universe is genuine, we cannot be sure it is. A simulation can be realistic and come with authentic laws of reality.
- This universe may have fake properties, but we cannot find that out because we do not know the properties of an authentic universe.
- Breaching the laws of reality is unrealistic in any case. If it happens, we may have evidence of this universe being virtual.
It follows from (1) and (2) that we cannot use the properties of this universe reflected in the laws of reality to determine whether this universe is real or a simulation. Science may establish the laws of physics or the properties of this universe, but science cannot ascertain whether they are real or fake. But if they are breached, that is evidence of this universe being a simulation.
We can discover that we live inside a simulation if we notice that reality is not realistic, at least in some aspects. There is evidence that the laws of reality may be breached from time to time, for instance, paranormal events, premonitions, meaningful coincidences and memories of past lives. The evidence appears sufficient to establish that the scientific laws of reality do not always apply.
Post-humans could have similar motivations as we have. They might run simulations of human civilisations for research or entertainment. Research applications could be about running what-if scenarios. Possible entertainment applications are games or dream worlds in which imaginations come true. These simulations may not be realistic in some aspects as they reflect the rules of a game or someone’s imagination.
Simulations of civilisations are complex, so guaranteeing a specific outcome, for instance, someone’s imagination coming true, requires control over everything that happens. That does not apply to games. Unpredictable developments make games more interesting. Looking at how we currently employ computing power, the number of simulations for entertainment likely vastly outstrip those run for research. If we live inside a simulation, we should expect its purpose to be entertainment.
If reality is unrealistic in some aspects, that suggests that our purpose is entertainment. A simulation run for research is probably realistic. Evidence of control indicates that the purpose of this simulation is not a game but to realise someone’s imagination.
The owner or owners may use avatars and appear like ordinary human beings to us. If you are familiar with computer games, you know what an avatar is. Once you enter the game, you become a character inside the game, your avatar, and suddenly you have a virtual existence apart from your regular existence. Inside the game, you are your avatar, not yourself. Similarly, you might start your personal virtual world in which you make your dreams come true. In this world, you also become someone else.
If beings in the simulation can think for themselves, that raises ethical questions like whether they have rights that the creators should respect. Considering how humans treat each other, it is not a given that these rights would be respected even when our creators acknowledge them. In a realistic simulation, bad things happen to people all the time. In the case of control, the beings inside the simulation are not sentient. It means that we may not think and may not have a will of our own. Hence, we might have no intrinsic value to our creators.
Meaningful coincidences suggest that there is a script, which implies that someone or something controls everything that happens in this universe. We may live inside a story with a preconceived ending. The purpose of this simulation could be to realise someone’s imagination. And so, there could be a post-human individual we may call God. And God might use an avatar and appear as an ordinary human to us.
And how does God experience the simulation? If there is a script, She probably does not actively direct events. Perhaps, God is in a dream state, where She is not in control of Her role and follows the script She has selected. That can raise yet another question. Does God know that She is God when She is in this world? And you can go even further because we can imagine gods. So, whose imagination is this world after all? We cannot answer these questions because we cannot know God, but perhaps it is possible to disclose some of God’s avatars.
Latest revision: 9 November 2022
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