Sive Finlay answered on 22 Nov 2013:
Wow, I’ve never come across those ideas before – fairly mind blowing. The logic about the universe being quantised or pixelated and therefore theoretically controlled by lines of computer code is very compelling. Especially when it’s mixed with the analogy to our own simulations of things like the Sims. The idea that we are living within a simulated world within which we create our own simulations reminds me a bit of the old notions of life being defined on a “Scala Natura” or a great chain of being. Except with this idea that chain of being is simulated worlds nested within other worlds – a bit like Russian doll toys rather than the older notions of the chain of life going from lower creatures all the way up to humans and deities.
While some of the ideas in the article seem to make sense initially I’m not convinced by the overall logic. They claim that our universe is a simulation created by our future descendants who have developed the computing power necessary to give them God-like capabilities. It’s a flawed logic because, for this idea to be true then there can be no “ultimate future” which explains the existence of our present or past. So if we are mere simulations of our future descendants how did those descendants come to exist? If they are truly the descendants of our current present then they can’t have existed until our present was simulated and if they’re the ones that created our current universe then how could that have happened until we have lived through our present and future to create those descendants?
I also have problems with the ideas of seeing our universe as a pixelated simulation. I accept that the universe can be reduced to pixels just like computer simulations but I think the logic for this similarity should go in the other direction. We invented and developed computers within the framework of our “pixelated” universe and we use computers to try and explain and understand our reality. So, rather than computers creating our universe, I think that the laws of our universe and our world combined to create the backdrop within which we developed computers based on those pre-existing laws.
One of the fundamental principles of science is parsimony; simple explanations often carry more weight and evidence than complex ideas. I usually come across it in an evolutionary biology context; simple evolutionary changes are more likely than major jumps – but parsimony applies equally to other aspects of science too. The idea of our creator being a cosmic computer programmer does not strike me as the most parsimonious explanation for our existence. There is a circular logic involved in relying on future beings to create our present even though that present is necessary to create their future. Similarly I think the proposed causality of computers creating our universe should be reversed; our universe is the framework in which we created computers.
Overall I think the article puts forward some interesting ideas but I would classify it as a religious belief system rather than a groundbreaking scientific theory to explain our origins.
What do you think?