Sim Everything

[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 abstraction
51-55, M
4 Responses Aug 10, 2011

Abstraction, this is exactly what i think we should feel about the eternal question of how it all began, or was there ever a beginning? Personally I was raised in South America, a place that has a strong religious culture. I went to a private school and we prayed everyday in school, we went to church on Sundays, the priest is regarded with a lot of respect in the town, etc. We moved to the US and, as we all grew up, I was basically the only person left in my family that gave religion any thought.<br />
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Part of it is that I grew up very independent of my parents and traveled on my own so, I was not within their influential bubble anymore. Alone I always felt close to God and it is possible that all of the small miracles I go through could be coincidences or "good luck" whatever luck is and that I immediately attach that to being a blessing. It is a possibility I suppose.<br />
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If we do have a higher being I call God that created us, He gave us this ability to question and to seek proof and so then we have science, which I find fascinating. I see no fault in our attempt to try and figure out what makes the world go 'round. We are curious beings. <br />
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I like finding a lot of great advice in the bible and feeling in my heart that when I pray, He is listening. I am enamored with the entire history of the Creation. But I do like the exploration of how and when and why.

The Sim Everything is just to illustrate the limitations of science. Science can only get us so far, rational thought a little further... The story isn't meant to be pushed too far - i guess your thoughts are a possible interpretation though rikitikitavi. <br />
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Honeybit: 'what we believe is going on is what's going on for us' - is only 'true' from a constructionist perspective. The universe existed before any human was here to perceive it. And yes, there are other possibilities. That's why people who have certainty should be questioned.

I am always a skeptic, even of everything I believe in. But at the same time I am always hopeful.. that the things I believe in are true!

what IS is the question...<br />
the possibilities and probabilities are endless... <br />
probably possible that this, that, and the other...<br />
possilbly probable that the other, this, and that...<br />
what we believe is going on is what's going on for us...

Do you think the the Programmer who for some reason developed an attachment to His Sims would attempt the stop the Simulation if the Sims were in danger of deleting themselves? Or couId it be possible that a flaw was detected during runtime that could make the Simulation end unexpectedly resulting in the loss of valuable data, Sims included. Is it possible the Programmer would try to save/preserve some of the more advanced Sims because they would be useful in some other Simulation or Project he has planned out. (Who knows what self-programming Sims can do)? <br />
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Since the Programmer cannot enter the Simulation physically without destroying his hardware, and since stopping the Simulation to fix the flaw will essentially require a reboot of the entire Simulation, could the Programmer attempt to patch the Simulation from the inside out by creating an Avatar of himself inside the Simulation. The purpose of this Avatar maybe to increase the yield of advanced Sims created before the end of the Simulation; or maybe to reprogram/teach the Sims into behavior that is less self-destructive to themselves and/or the Simulation world itself. What do you think?