Had a bad day. today. Dave Sivier came over and we had an enjoyable discussion on increasingly bizarre plans for “better faster cheaper” space exploration – NASA’ s current strategy in case you have not heard the phrase, culminating in a discussion of ideas for building a cheap Brunel-era tech space elevator, and I read some stuff Beast brought over on the development of the mammalian brain, and got very excited about the morphology of Eocene Lemurs. The gas man failed to show, but I slowly went down with a feverish cold and feel rubbish, and not at all with it. Therefore as I feel rough I shall attempt to offer something not too ambitious in the way of posts tonight – my old attempt at a logical proof of the existence of God seems a good start…
OK, it was a couple of years ago, and someone challenged me to prove the existence of God in one post on the Dawkins forum, and silliness ensued. May amuse…
“OK, I shall argue the existence of God from the World of Warcraft.
1. WoW (or any MMORPG) is a simulated world with it’s own programmed physics in which players take part in an immersive mutual reality. If you are not familiar with it the best documentary is South Park’s episode Make Love, not Warcraft (link contains sound and obscene humour) which is on cable most nights this week I think.
2. My proposal, based on Nick Bostrom’s famous paper http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html – the Simulation Hypothesis – is that given predicted exponential growth in computing (assuming we break the supposed Silicon limit) future virtual universes may be indistinguishable from the real thing. See the work of noted theologians Rob Grant & Doug Naylor in their opus Melior Quam Vita, part of their Rutilus Dwarf series of philosophical investigations for an example. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Better_Than_Life
3. Given that our universe is said to appear to be highly “designed”, as in the infamous problem of Fine Tuning, and the collapse of our normal understandings at Quantum levels, I suggest that this may simply be the level of programming code, and that it is extremely likely that we are living in a simulated universe generated by a civilization that has surpassed our own level of advancement. As virtual universes are easier to construct than real universes, we might infer the odds of us existing in a virtual universe are far higher than those of us existing in a real universe.
4. As the response to Fine Tuning usually suggested (including by Professor Dawkins) is multiverse, let us run with this and allow an infinite (or vast as required by Fine Tuning) number of universes. The odds of those universes having produced an advanced civilization which manufactures virtual universes therefore approaches certainty, and as these numbers increase vastly so does the number of virtual universes increase (probably exponentially) as does the likelihood we live in a virtual universe. This argument was amusingly developed by cosmologist Paul Davies. SO Fine Tuning or NO Fine Tuning, the argument holds.
5. The programmer of such a universe is outside time/space, super-natural, can change physical laws at whim, created and can destroy the simulation, and can of course “incarnate” by entering the simulation. Furthermore they can provide virtual afterlife, or switch players from previous simulations, giving reincarnation type effects. In effect with regard to their creation (including us) they are a God. This idea fits perfectly with the model of reality proposed by certain atheistic forms of early Buddhism, or more recently by William James in Human Immortality. If you must you can mention The Matrix, a film I have never actually seen, because my friends try to lynch me whenever it comes on.
6. Therefore the existence of God(s) is at near certainty! If Christianity’s claim that we are made in the image of God is to be considered, then these deities might be rather worrying though.
Feel free to critique my logic — somehow I doubt anyone is going to convert! As you may have gathered, I’m not entirely serious, though actually it is rationally coherent and entirely as far as I can work out logical. I welcome any serious critique, because though I have not, you can seriously argue this! Is it not a rational proof of the existence of Gods? ”
This led to much discussion – but despite the bad humour and tone, I was being serious. I’m not convinced, but once you start to think in these terms it’s much easier to understand how real theology works and why the whole God hypothesis is not as ridiculous as people seem to assume. If you are interested in the cosmology underlying this look for the works of Lord Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society – especially Just Six Numbers – and Professor Paul Davies excellent The Goldilocks Enigma which I had not read at time of writing but which covers all the arguments for Fine Tuning of the universe wonderfully, as well as giving you a whistle stop tour of modern astrophysics. However one night a few weeks ago I was up at 4am or something, and caught What We Still Don’t Know, a documentary series presented by Lord Rees. It was superb – and one episode in particular struck an incredible resonance with me, and might well amuse anyone who has read my argument. Have a look at it, because the exposition of the ideas I’m playing with is a thousand times more beautifully presented here, by people who know what they are talking about. If I have time tomorrow I’ll talk through the critiques of Cosmological Fine Tuning briefly, and discuss why “I still believe in God, even if He no longer believes in me” to slightly misquote Wayne Hussey Here is the episode on YouTube (contains sound and flashing images) – but really, do take the time to watch this…
What We Still Don’t Know -final episode, Lord Rees
I’m off back to bed to rest. Night all.