Before I start, everybody get your tinfoil hats on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
I’ve been thinking about video games and I had a flash of insight. It’s not a new thing, lots of other people have proposed, if fictitiously, the same idea. Here it is:
It is far more likely that the world we live in is generated as a computer game than that any of the religious beliefs are true.
If we look at religious claims, it should become obvious that they don’t hold up based on natural laws and archaeological data. For example: God created the earth and the heavens. The first thing you’d have to wonder is how did he do it? Well, if he designed it as a computer game it all makes sense. Is the earth six to ten thousand years old? Sure, why not? How could a god create a universe if time is part of the universe? How can you have an event without a time frame for reference?
In a computer game, the writers/programmers/gods start with a story board. They design the characters and the scenes and so on. If the game sells well and they make a sequel, they improve on it, flesh it out more, improve the graphics, and try to make a better story line. And do you start the story from the beginning? No! You begin at a specific point. The game is designed, so turn it on any time you like. The time inside the game is not the same as the time outside the game, so there’s another paradox resolved.
So . . . they start with a test. They make a landscape and a couple of primitive people. They add a couple of lights in the sky and a bunch of animals and plants. They set it in motion to see what will happen. To their great surprise, the virtual characters rapidly gain abilities in unexpected ways. This is not according to plan, so the game makers throw in more difficult challenges and mortality and disease. Much better – the characters don’t run out of control.
Years ago, I had a game called Sim Ant, a virtual ant farm. like our example, Sim Ant required supervision or who knows what would happen? Usually, the ants would just die out. They had to be provided with resources and it was necessary to watch them constantly. If you left the simulation running untended the poor little ants would just die out. No doubt a cruel person could find ways to torture and destroy them.
Back to our game. People are flourishing. One of them kills another. Dang! Making them mortal wasn’t supposed to mean they could kill each other! What a revolting development. Eventually, the little critters get really out of hand and aren’t doing anything they were expected to do. What a conundrum. I guess this one was a bust. Time for a reset.
The video game ant farmer re-writes the game from scratch. S/he/it likes a couple of characters, so for the second game he posits a story of a great flood, keeps those couple of characters but puts in a lot of new ones. During development, the designer and the beta testers find flaws in the game, and being extremely lazy, they devise solutions that aren’t all that clever, but solve problems. Along comes a character who is set to be a leader but he gets killed in the simulation. No problem, he gets a free life and immortality!
See? This all makes sense to anyone who has played video games because that’s exactly how video games work. But the stories passed around by religious groups don’t make sense given a rational world and a set of immutable laws. Does the Programmer interfere? How would we know? If he changes the game, would the characters know the game has been changed?
Maybe inside the game there really was a Moses and an Exodus and that only exists on one level. On another level there are memories but no artifacts of those events. You can do that in a video game, but you can’t do it in a reality. For all anyone knows, the video game began last Tuesday at 6:00 a.m. and we were created with all our memories and everything in our worlds as we see it now and nothing ever happened before that. Because that’s how video games work.
Simulacron-3, written by Daniel Galoye (1964), proposes a group of computer simulation creators who find that they, too, are part of a simulation. The movie, The Thirteenth Floor, was based on that story. The purpose of the simulation was to discover marketing trends and so they had to make the people in the simulation as real as possible – a mirror of real life. Three known levels. But how many more are possible?
“Of course you are,
my bright little star . . .
I’ve miles and miles of files
Pretty files of your forefather’s fruit
And now to suit our great computer
You’re magnetic ink!” – the Moody Blues