The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

December 15, 2013

Our Readers Speak — Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013

Scientists testing for reality vs. simulation

Christians and others have always retorted to inquiries by science and philosophical minded-folk with “Do you think humans are smarter than God?” Then they trot forth their customary remarks of how not a sparrow from the skies, not a bee or an ant goes unaccounted for.

They make completely unproved sequences of reasoning, and mountains of faulty logic magic all leading to the final unanswerable conclusion that God is the be-all and end-all of questions and answers. Just say “God” in a breathless rush. What more need there to be said? You’ve just said it all according to the late Bev Davis (1949-2010).

But me being me, I just can’t leave it at that. I’m not Bev Davis and neither are you. We’re each unique creatures or are we simply super-computer generated simulations of life?

According to “Do We Live in the Matrix,” an article in the December edition of Discover Magazine, physicists are now offering us the choice of whether to test (or not) if the entire known universe and humans are virtual reality creations designed by super-intelligent (god-like) beings for some unknown reason.

Some fanciful (?) philosophers like Plato have long argued that we’re actually more likely to be artificial intelligence trapped in a fake universe than we are organic minds in a “real” world. But this leads to the horrendous thought that these programmers can twist reality on a whim — at any second, any moment they wish.

So what? This is all speculation, right? It can’t be proved, can it?

The answer is: Yes, it can! Silas Beane, a nuclear physicist at the University of Washington in Seattle, states that we may be able to fit humans into simulation boxes within a century. While John D. Barrow, professor of mathematical sciences at Cambridge University, (and others) tell us glitches would occur, unexpected distributions of cosmic rays (which have supposed to come all directions equally) would be one way to test our cosmos for realness.

Another way to test would be to find obvious faults in the so-called constants: the speed of light for example. Some scientists have already made claims of such weirdness.

Our simulators may themselves be simulations — just one rabbit hole linked to others. And would you want to know and does it really matter if we are “real” or “artificial” “creations”? Be careful — your masters may have already slipped an easy answer into your programmed head or in this newspaper.

Lonnie Bailey

Pineville

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