The Simulation Hypothesis: More Evidence From Physics And Astronomy
By John Prytz
The Simulation Hypothesis states that there is a high probability that what we call life, the Universe and everything exists as a state of virtual reality within a higher realm of really real reality. We are a computer simulation ‘living’ in a virtual landscape. There are various observations in the physical sciences that are suggestive that this hypothesis is true. Here are some additional examples.
The Simulation Hypothesis and the Pixelated Universe
Ultimately we know that our really real reality is pixelated in that you can go down only so far before you hit fundamentals that not composed of anything else. So electrons, photons, neutrinos, gluons, quarks are all the pixels that our really real reality is created from. But wait, that also applies to virtual reality; computer simulations, programmed software, etc. The pixels are the digital ones and zeroes that make up virtual reality and could in fact make up the electrons, photons, neutrinos, gluons, quarks, etc. So no matter how you slice and dice things, reality is pixelated. That’s also the case with Quantum Mechanics. You can have this state or this value but not this other state or this other value. This is like a one; not this is like a zero. So our Universe is digital, not analog.
The Simulation Hypothesis and Identical Electrons
Why are all electrons (or positrons, or up-quarks, etc.) identical? Each species of fundamental / elementary particles, like electrons, are absolutely identical. The charge is identical; the mass is identical, etc. Why is that so? Well, if each species of particle has their own specific software code, say electrons are 11011100 and positrons are 00100011 and so on, that explains that.
The Simulation Hypothesis and the Fundamental Constants
So we have here a whole potful of nature’s fundamental / physical constants* yet none can be derived from first principles or can any of the values be derived theoretically and to top it all off they have no apparent connection to each other. The speed of light has no apparent relationship to the electron’s electric charge for example.
So, in the Simulation Hypothesis, there would be one separate and apart software code for each of the physical constants.
*Charge on the electron (proton, positron, etc.); mass of the electron (proton, positron, etc.); speed of light in a vacuum; gravitational constant, etc.
The Simulation Hypothesis and the Theory of Everything
There is no Theory of Everything (TOE). You’d expect that if there was just one Mother Nature that all of physics would be unified. There would be one physics. Alas, there are two sets of physics – Quantum Mechanics and Relativity (gravity). Despite thousands of the finest minds, working now for many decades, these two branches of physics have resisted unification. One obvious answer is that there are two separate and apart sets of software, two sets of programs, one each that controls Quantum Mechanics and one that controls Relativity (Gravity).
The Simulation Hypothesis and the Superposition-of-State
The concept of superposition-of-state implies that something can be in two (or more) mutually exclusive states at the same time until such time as an observer looks. Then apparently the associated wave function collapses and you get an either this or that outcome. In any really real reality that would be totally nonsensical. If a coin rolls under your bed, even before you look, you don’t assume that it is both heads up and tails up at the same time. Further, the coin is not in two separate and apart places under the bed even if you don’t know exactly where under the bed it has rolled to. The coin is not in a superposition-of-state even if nobody ever observes it from that moment on. Yet another point about the alleged superposition-of-state and associated collapse of the wave function. Even if the wave function collapses for the initial / first observer (the coin is say heads up), that state of the coin doesn’t apply for each and every other potential observer in the Universe. So the wave function can’t have really collapsed and the coin’s superposition-of-state is still in vogue for all of those potential observers. However, superposition-of-state can be achieved via computer software programed special effects.
Discussion: There is nothing at all different in principle between a material / physical macro object and a physical / material micro object, especially since micro objects collectively make up macro objects.
To prove superposition-of-state you’d need to observe / measure one physical / material object that’s either in two different separate and apart geographical locations at the same time, or else observe / measure this object as having two different and mutually exclusive states (like both heads up AND tails up) at the same time. Now the flaw here is that by the same reasoning that says superposition-of-state exists, any observation / measurement instantaneously collapses that object’s wave function into an either/or state and thus no actual after-the-fact superposition-of-state exists to be offered up as proof that superposition-of-state actually exists in any really real reality sense.
If there is no such thing as superposition-of-state then there can be no spooky-action-at-a-distance (i.e. – quantum entanglement)*, which is not to say there isn’t entanglement, it’s just not spooky. An obvious example of non-spooky entanglement would be say buying a pair of gloves and putting them – one each that is – into two different boxes and mailing those boxes to two different people, each halfway around the world from the other. Now if person A opens their box and the glove therein is a right-handed glove, then instantaneously, faster that the speed of light, that person knows that person B has a left-handed glove in their box. Nothing spooky about it despite that the knowledge that person B had a left-handed glove traveled at faster than light speed to person A. However, there wasn’t any actual transference of information from one glove to the other so there was no violation of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.
*The Simulation Hypothesis and Quantum Entanglement
How can X instantaneously affect Y when X and Y are light-years apart? Well, in virtual reality, all points (like X and Y) are equidistant from the point of origin or the source, which in this case is the programmed software.
The Simulation Hypothesis and Mathematical Equations
Mathematical equations (simple exponents, etc.): The mathematics that underpins the physical sciences might look pretty scary, but when looked at closely, you’ll note that the exponents and the coefficients nearly always tend to be simple whole numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.) or simple fractions (like 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 2/3, 3/4, etc.). Now this near universal fact goes totally against the grain of what you’d expect from pure probability. An explanation is in order and the Simulation Hypothesis supplies one.
The Simulation Hypothesis and the Big Bang
If you read any modern account of the Big Bang (origin of our Universe) event – and I’ve read dozens – you’ll note, or should note, one very obvious oops that you’ll NEVER read about or see discussed / addressed. And that is, if the entire or total mass / energy contents of our Universe started out being crammed back into a space the size of a tennis ball (or usually even less), what are you going to actually have, especially when terms like “singularity” are tossed around with reckless abandon? I’ll tell you. You’re going to start the origin of our Universe out from the initial condition of there being, of necessity, the Mother of all Black Holes from which nothing in turn can Bang! A Black Hole will of course leak radiation very, very, very slowly (Hawking radiation) but no one Big coherent Bang! So how do cosmologists arrive at having the entire matter / energy contents crammed in the beginning back into the size of a tennis ball (or less)?
Starting with observations made today that the Universe is expanding, cosmologists wind the clock back (using their mathematical / physical equations) to a nanosecond after Time = Zero which translates into that tennis ball (or less) size. Now IMHO this is totally unjustified especially given that those same equations suggest that the Universe was opaque until some roughly 400,000 years or thereabouts after the Big Bang event. Thus, cosmologists have no way of actually knowing via direct astronomical observations if their equations are telling them a reality story prior to 400,000 years after the Big Bang event. In that 400,000 year interval, it’s 100% theory as to the state of play rather than discovering the state of play via actual observation. This is just about as unjustified an approach as if they filmed the inflation of a hot air balloon and then taking that expansion rate over time and then running the equation clock backwards until such time as they conclude that the hot air balloon was the size of a tennis ball, or pea, or even less. That approach would be nonsense. So why is it allowed in cosmology?
So either the Big Bang event happened in a geographical region large enough to prevent the formation of the Mother of all Black Holes, or else – software / special effects rule the origin of our Universe. The Big Bang event (let there be light) and a software program kicking in are quite compatible.
The Simulation Hypothesis and the Multiverse
This one is a no-brainer. If a ‘person’ or ‘persons’ unknown have simulated what we call our Universe then they have probably simulated lots, and lots, and lots of other universes, all starting with variations large and small on the programming software that created our simulated landscape and virtual reality. It’s the ultimate cast-your-fate-to-the-wind physics and cosmological thought experiments, or ‘what if’ research. Some simulated universes allow for A, B, & C and some for X, Y, and Z and some for A, M, and Z and on and on it goes. Some simulated universes contain no symmetries; some no antimatter at all; some with variations on the spin, charge and masses of the fundamental particles; some that allow time travel; somewhere where mass and energy are not equivalent; some where there is no uncertainty principle; some where the inverse cube law holds sway; some universes with Big Crunches, Big Rips, and even Steady State universes; and maybe some where the speed of light is the minimum possible velocity. Collectively it’s a Multiverse.
The Simulation Hypothesis and Neith of Venus
Neith was a ‘natural’ satellite that was observed by both amateur and professional astronomers several centuries ago. It was so actually observed that it was formally named – Neith. Alas, Venus has no natural satellite. So, Neith somehow popped into existence and then popped out of existence. Were all of the observations delusional or illusional? Now if things just pop into and out of existence without explanation, that’s suggestive of special effects or software. Popping in and out of existence is one of those facets known as “it can’t be therefore it isn’t” vs. “I know what I saw”.
The Simulation Hypothesis and a Logical Absurdity
There are two concepts that I have difficulty reconciling. The first is the First Law of Thermodynamics which among other concepts states that matter / energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Thus, that leads to a conclusion that matter / energy has always existed. The second is the quantum mantra – anything that can happen will happen given enough time. Well, if matter / energy have always existed, that’s more than enough time for anything and everything that’s possible to happen, happens. I mean an awful lot of weird stuff can happen given an infinite amount of time. The concept of a Boltzmann Brain is just one such idea.* Let your imagination run wild and you can easily come up with way over six just about impossible and utterly absurd things that must have happened. However, software overrides that First Law of Thermodynamics in that any software program is finite and the possible scenarios are fixed so not everything that can happen (like a Boltzmann Brain) does happen.
*Equally events like you would quantum tunnel through your bedroom wall into the hallway instead of using the bedroom door; a fairly balanced coin would land heads up a trillion times in a row; or a monkey would eventually type out the complete works of Shakespeare or the Bible (even and the Bible).
Conclusion: The Simulation Hypothesis and The Twilight Zone
Whoever, whatever, programmed our cosmos and our local landscape had a sense of the absurd. Perhaps that’s our Supreme Programmer’s sense of humor coming to the fore. What absurdities? Quantum physics is absurd. The fact that we just can’t come up with a Theory of Everything is absurd. An accelerating expansion rate for the cosmos is absurd. Dark Energy and Dark Matter are absurd concepts. Crop circles are absurd (but they’re here). The Loch Ness Monster is absurd (but people report seeing it or them). Long Delayed Echoes are absurd (but verified). Transient Lunar Phenomena are absurd (but verified). Those Martian rock ‘anomalies’ like lizards, rats and skulls are absurd (but they have been photographed). Biblical ‘miracles’ are absurd but millions believe they happened. The SETI “WOW” signal is an absurdity but it happened. There are all manner of archaeological absurdities, but I’ll mention just one – The Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek in modern day Lebanon. There are many things that are absurd when it comes to the human species: here’s one – humans are the only species where the saying “don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes makes actual sense. If photons cannot escape from a Black Hole then neither can gravitons. Gravitons convey the gravitational force which means that Black Holes exert no gravity. A Black Hole without gravity is therefore an absurdity. Then you have quasars that appear linked but have vastly differing red shifts which is also an absurdity. The missing satellite of Venus, Neith, is another absurdity as in how can satellites vanish? You have physical constants that apparently aren’t – constant that is. Time travel to the past is both theoretically possible (General Relativity) and theoretically impossible (paradoxes) – it’s an absurdity to have both something that can be and not be at the same time. Ghosts are absurd yet there are probably more sightings of ghosts going back to ancient times than there have been sightings of UFOs. Perhaps UFOs, the “Greys” and related are also absurdities, but they exist in good company with the rest of what passes for our simulated cosmic ‘Twilight Zone’.
Addendum: How could our video / computer game characters know (assuming they had consciousness) that they weren’t in a really real reality instead of in a virtual reality? They couldn’t and they wouldn’t. But even if they could, what could they or would they deduce about our (human) reality? Their conclusions would be just pure guesswork since we (humans) have created such a massive diversity of virtual reality worlds / landscapes that the inhabitants of these virtual reality worlds would have so little in common with each other that their guesstimates of our (human) reality would be equally diverse. The inhabitants of a “Game of Thrones” virtual reality would think we humans co-existed with dragons. The inhabitants of a virtual “Haunted House” reality world full of spooky ghosts would think that would be the reality of their human creators as well. The inhabitants of a “Star Wars” video game might conclude that really real reality humans had the ‘force’ with them and that Darth Vader and the Death Star were real threats.
In other words, if we (humans) are virtual humans and not physical humans then we couldn’t have much of a handle on what our computer programmer’s reality is actually like.
Addendum Two: Many of us have heard about the Holographic Universe scenario which basically postulates that like a hologram, our Universe appears to be 3-D but is actually 2-D. Now think of a video / computer game or computer simulation. That simulation appears to be 3-D (i.e. – simulated characters can move to the front and to the back as well as up-down and left-right) but of course is actually displayed on a flat 2-D surface / monitor.
Science librarian; retired.