Philosophy catches up to theology

It’s interesting to see how those who deny the supernatural are nevertheless gradually reinventing it under the guise of simulation theory, which is functionally identical to my original God as Game Designer hypothesis described 12 years ago in The Irrational Atheist:

This is one possible way for the intelligent life form to discover that it is actually existing in a simulation. Given enough time, it would discover the nature of its universe and learn it is actually a simulation. The trouble here is the intelligent life form would have to accept as a possibility that it exists in a simulation. A creature that is sure its universe operates on a fixed set of rules is unlikely to accept that those rules are an arbitrary invention of some higher intelligence outside its universe.

There is also another problem. The creators of the simulation could themselves be the product of a simulation. It’s entirely possible the one fixed rule of existence is that no intelligence entity can create an intelligence superior to itself. Perhaps Thomas Aquinas was right all along and there is some prime mover. The very source of the existence is the pinnacle of intelligence, which creates imperfect copies of itself manifesting as simulations within simulations.

We have in this simulation some evidence of this limitation. Despite the hyperbole about artificial intelligence, we have not come close to creating a computer that can rival the human mind. We have made very fast computers that can do calculations and sort through stacks of data faster than humans. These are not artificial intelligence or even intelligence at all, but rather they are very fast calculators. The collapse of the self-driving car project is an example of this limit.

Putting that aside, there is one other way the intelligent life forms inside the simulation could start to notice they are in a simulation. The point of creating a simulation, aside from sadism, is to test some theory or model some conditions. This implies the creators could make a mistake. They recognize this, so before changing something about their world or making a new tool, they test the theories behind it in a simulation. This means their simulation could have errors in it.

Let’s say they create a set of economic rules for their model society, but forget to carry the one or round the wrong way and there is an anomaly in the model. For example, creating more currency of a certain type does not result in inflation. All the other types of money operate by the rules of economics, but this one type of money seems to exist outside of those rules. The intelligent creatures figure this out and start producing tons of this new money to produce great material excess.

Presumably, the creators of the simulation would distribute skills and talents unequally among the intelligent life forms in order to see how creations of differing skills interact with one another. Maybe it is just an efficient way to use the finite resources available to the simulation makers. Regardless, the rules of the universe would have to dictate that those with a skill do better at some things than those without the skill. The result would be natural hierarchies in every aspect of the simulation.

What if there was a bug in the code where those with extreme narcissism and narrow intelligence can rise up to control society? At some point, through random chance, the stupid and narrow-minded figure this out and take over the simulation. Like the mouse utopia, this would be a useful discovery for the simulation makers, but it would create havoc for their simulation. So much so they may be tempted to unplug the thing, fix the bad code and re-run the simulation again.

Assuming the simulation keeps running, some of the intelligent life forms will see the anomalies in the system. They will work to resolve the paradoxes, but at some point, given enough cycles, they will have exhausted their set of options. At that point, they will have to question the very axioms of their existence and that’s when they can begin to contemplate the possibility they are in a simulation. The number of paradoxes grows to the point where they cannot be ignored.

The more we learn about genetics and physics, the more it becomes evident that we are living, not in a simulation, but a consciously created reality. In technological terms, the “supernatural” is simply the coder’s reality as opposed to the coded reality, and evidence of the paranormal is merely elements of the former penetrating the latter.

Which is why I am prone to referring to the afterlife as “Level 2”. After all, does not “the Word became flesh” beautifully describe a transition from a conceptual to a physical reality?