[Please note: this is not a theory or view of the universe. It is a story to explore some philosophical ideas about the nature of science, rational thought and belief].
In eighty years when computers are amazing, a computer programmer creates a game called Sim Everything. He forms a planet of complexity and beauty, and establishes sentient, rational beings. He creates a universe to set the planet in that is logically infinite and expanding.
Now it's important to note what this universe is. It isn't the computer or the code. This universe is formed, sustained and governed by the computer and code - but the world itself is completely virtual from our perspective, and totally real by the Sims' standpoint. When the Sims jump off a cliff, they predictably fall and hit what is to them the real ground, with real consequences. To us it's all code. To them it is life as they know it.
The programmer skips ahead thousands of generations and the Sims have developed cultures, art, philosophy and science. Their science is exploring their virtual universe and learning. They have found ingenious ways to explore their world and create technologies.
Let's think about their science: They can learn everything about their virtual world, but they cannot detect the computer or the code in the hard drive or the power outlet that continues to allow them to exist. They have identified patterns about their world. Through this they can logically understand the logic of much of the code - but can't see the code itself. Their science can only explore their own Virtual world because they have no existence in the living room of the programmer - only in the world sustained by the memory of the computer. Their universe is infinite and expanding, but from the programmer's perspective this entire universe is contained neatly in a different form in his hard drive and computer chips in the corner of his room. For him this universe only takes some space on his hard drive. For them time has no beginning and no end, but for the programmer, he made it at a particular moment.
In philosophy, the Sims have divided into roughly two camps. One camp do not believe in a Programmer or any kind of life beyond their universe. There simply isn't any evidence for it in their science. It's easy to be sympathetic to their views - they are being faithfully rational. It's just that, in this case, they are incorrect. That's because their science can only measure and explore their virtual world. Only in philosophy can they postulate something beyond that world.
Another group believe there is a Programmer. They argue that there must have been a First Cause, that their universe demonstrates too much design and order, that their self-awareness, intelligence and personality are unlikely to have emerged from chance. They cite all these evidences, and also build a completely rational case for the existence of a Programmer. But they have absolutely no proof.
Both sides are rational. Both sides cite forms of evidence. Neither side has proof.
I dislike the circular logic of 'believe in the bible because it says it's true.' I dislike the 'it can't be proven therefore it's just a fairytale.' I think existence might be far more profound than what fits inside the tiny space of our brains. This calls for the humility to have an open mind.
abstraction 46-50, M 4 Responses 1 Aug 10, 2011