If We Are In A Massive Computer Simulation, Who Is The Programmer?

 I was reading a 2016 feedback article on Creation.com, entitled, “Is the universe a simulation?” when I realized how much the allegedly Biblical principles that modern creationists tout in support of their Earthbound religious perspective have in common with Simulation Hypothesis. 

For those of you who don’t know what Simulation Hypothesis is, it’s the idea that we’re living inside a computer simulation much like the humans were at the outset of the Matrix trilogy. 

If that sounds like sci-fi nonsense, then you might not be aware that a 1928 experiment (the Thomson experiment plus the Davisson-Germer experiment) conducted at the California Institute of Technology whicg demonstrated, in the words of Rich Terrell, from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, that “when you are not looking at it, matter us diffuse.” The universe is pixelated when we aren’t looking at it and only assumes definite form when engaged, just like a simulation.

As I pointed out in Defending Genesis:

“The appeal of simulation theory is that it neatly explains the anthropic principle: why the universe is so amazingly fine-tuned for the existence of our particular kind of sapient life…

Simulation theory does a bit of hand-waving with the anthropic principle. Our incredible string of Free Lunches are simply variables that were plugged in at the outset of our simulation. Perhaps there are other simulations with differing variables, as predicted by multiverse theory. Perhaps those fundamental anthropic “variables” are really constants after all and remain the same in all simulations because the simulations are meant to solve a problem and these fundamental anthropic factors are necessary, no matter what. Maybe the simulations run by differing lesser variables, each with different histories and outcomes. Of course, this simply moves the goalpost back to the Programmer of the simulation, since the only rational reason for such fundamental constants is that they are exactly what’s necessary to achieve our kind of sapient life.

Simulation theory also explains the Fermi Paradox, which can be summarized in the question, “Where is everybody?” In other words, where are all of the aliens? If molecules-to-man evolution is true and there are billions of galaxies out there, shouldn’t intelligent life have evolved on some of them? Why haven’t we heard from them? Why haven’t they colonized such prime real estate as Earth? Did you realize that the Star Wars universe, the Star Trek universe and similar fictional worlds where the Never simply teems with alien civilizations are all based on an evolutionary worldview? Such science fiction is based on the feeling that life is somehow inevitable and that chemicals simply and magically produce life, which then evolves into more and more complex forms until it achieves sufficient mental complexity to be called intelligent. Evolutionists feel that there’s been ample time for alien abiogenesis and evolution to occur a ridiculous number of times and given the vastness of space, we’re probably just sailing past one another on the vast oceans of the Never. They feel that the discovery of intelligent alien life is somehow inevitable.”

Creationists who admit the possibility of extraterrestrial life, on the other hand, have no reason to expect life to be ubiquitous.  It could be as rare or as common as the Creator wishes it to be. It could even be exclusive to Earth as anti-alienists claim.”

CMI’s Shaun Doyle correctly notes that Simulation Hypothesis cannot rule out God as the Grand Programmer. Though they would prefer a more physical Programmer, Doyle points out that a supernatural Deity eliminates a fundamental problem with the hypothesis:

“…the simulation hypothesis implicitly admits that the fine-tuning argument is sound. Wouldn’t that suggest a similar fine-tuning argument could also be run for the world the simulation was designed in? Indeed, it’s reasonable to think that any universe with a simulator would be subject to a fine-tuning argument. The simplest way out of this fine-tuning regress is a non-physical designer like God.”

It also allows the Ultimate Supernatural back in: God as the Programmer. In such a case, the universe very well could have been created in just six days. Both the anthropic principle, any supernatural elements and/or direct interventions from the Programmer could be variables plugged in to suggest to the self-aware beings within the simulation that He indeed exists. Humanity’s will to worship may also be purposely programmed in by the Grand Programmer. It also turns Multiverse theory on its head; if we live in a simulation, the Multiverse (if it exists) could merely be different simulations being run by the same Programmer. 

In short, Simulation theory not only allows a Divine foot back in the door – it gives him the run of the house! This aspect of simulation theory makes pure naturalists very, very nervous. While the Programmer is said to be natural, since the Programmer is, from our stand point, omniscient and omnipotent, said Programmer is virtually indistinguishable from His supernatural counterpart (i.e., God); therefore, the claim that said Programmer is a purely natural entity is arbitrary.

But why should we presume that this Programmer exists in a universe beyond this one? Why couldn’t we inhabit the same universe, our reality being a stacked sub-reality of the one our Programmer exists in? In a sense, this might just be a different way of looking at the problem. The difference is that this version of simulation theory identifies the Programmer[s] as post-humans running ancestor-history simulations. 

Unfortunately, if Nick Bostrom of Oxford University is correct, our descendants will almost certainly never run such ancestor-history simulations – unless we just happen to living in one right now! That sounds a bit like double-speak; if our descendants almost certainly won’t run such a simulation, why would we be in one?

If the universe is a simulation, the only reasonable candidate for the Grand Programmer would be indistinguishable from God. As an answer to the Fermi Paradox, it basically says that a Creator simply didn’t make any aliens in this particular simulation. 

Unless of course we just haven’t reached that level of the simulation yet.


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