Is the Universe a Simulation?
Have you ever wondered if the world around you was actually an illusion? It might seem silly to even entertain the idea, but believe it or not this is a very hot topic in some philosophical (and pop-philosophical) circles right now. Everyone from Elon Musk, to Joe Rogan, to Neil deGrasse Tyson have publicly wondered aloud about whether we are living in some kind of computer simulation.
It makes for some very interesting podcast listening, but the question, Are we living in a simulation, actually turns out to be harder to answer than it might appear at first. So, are we living in a simulation?
In this episode, Joel and Parker dive deep into the question and bring out resources to help you find the answer. Like all questions of reality and how the world works, believers must approach this question in a biblical way. Ultimately, the Sons of Thunder conclude that we are not living in a simulation.
Park introduces the formal form of the Simulation Argument (as opposed to Simulation Theory, which is something slightly different) developed by philosopher Nick Bostrom, and the brothers lay out different versions of possible simulations we might be living in. Are we Sims? Are we living in a matrix? Are we brains created by a computer? After examining the alternatives through a scriptural lens, they officially pronounce Simulation Theory debunked.
It might seem hasty to make such a definitive pronouncement to such a vexing question, but when God’s word is in the mix, answers do tend to become more definitive (if not easier to arrive at).
To learn more about this subject, keep reading.
Parker is studying Hebrew, but (maybe) not to one-up Joel
Descartes posed a similar question to Simulation question, centuries ago.
There are cultural memes that deal with this issue (movies, internet trends, etc.)
Historical philosophy has asked whether the world is primarily mental or physical
Three possible simulation scenarios: sims, matrix, and computer-created brains
We are not possibly sims or in a matrix (though the Matrix theme needs extra unpacking.
If we were in a simulation, we would not be able to tell.
The third option, that we are digitally-created beings, is similar to Tron.
Nick Bostrom’s Simulation Argument proposes three alternatives, one of which (he claims) must be true.
Simulation Theory argues that it is far more likely that we are living in a simulation than that we aren’t.
Phillip K. Dick thought that Deja Vu was an indication that we are living in a simulation (an idea picked up by the Matrix).
Bostrom himself believes it is less than 50% possible that we are living in a simulation.
There is actually no positive argument for Simulation Theory.
Simulation Theory does not disprove God, because it just pushes the need for a Creator back one step.
The biblical worldview is one that says our world is real (call this Biblical Realism)
Christians can confidently lay their heads on their proverbial pillows at night, reassured that we live in the real world, not a simulation.
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