The More We Learn About Our Universe, The More Experts Say We're Likely Living In A Simulation

Submitted by: fancylad 2 weeks ago in Science


We've seen videos of people like Elon Musk talk about a simulated universe, but the theory is gaining popularity with lots of experts and people much smarter than us.

So... thoughts on this theory? Does it comfort you that you might be living in a Matrix-like simulation or is it all BS? And if we are living in a simulated universe, are you happy with your "simulation?" 

As Max Tegmark (an MIT cosmologist seen in this clip) says, if you think you're living in a simulated universe, live an interesting life and do unexpected things.
There are 90 comments:
Male 23
Sorry people!  This idea only appeared after computers were invented. Because we resemble a computer sim, doesn't mean we live in a sim.  Reminds me of the Charlie Chaplin time traveler...the man is talking on a cell phone since that's how it appears, and it's what we do today, and we can't explain his actions (at the time), so the guy in the movie must be a time traveler.  It's the same flawed logic used in religion.  We are designed because everything we make is designed, and we don't like the current explanation, therefore, there is a designer.

Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? Scientists Prove Elon Musk Wrong

http://www.newsweek.com/are-we-living-computer-simulation-scientists-prove-elon-musk-wrong-677251
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Male 10
JoBlack Actually, the idea has been around in one form or another for a long time through religion, etc. 

The article you link to does not in any way prove that we aren't, all it does is hypothesize as to why we might not be, but that's due to current constraints and limitations in our understanding. Contrary to the article title, it actually leaves room for it to be correct by stating: 

 While achieving this on classical computers is impossible, the research does not entirely rule out that an effective method for massive-scale simulations might one day be possible through advances in ultra-powerful quantum computers, however the researchers note that currently no efficient simulation algorithms are known. 

This should be the appropriate scientific stance since there is no proof either way.

Individuals in the 13th century would not fathom the technology we have today. Actually, most people in the 50s and 60s and 70s would not fathom the exponential increase in technological advances that we are currently experiencing across all verticals (biotech, chemtech, material sciences, robotics, etc).

The estimated age of the universe is 14 billion years. Imagine if a civilization spawned within 6 billion years. Or even a billion years ago. Imagine if their advancement was as rapid as ours has been in the last half century except that they've had hundreds of millions of years of additional time.

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Male 380
Nope. It is a thought exercise not a working theory. Hell not even a hypothesis.
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Male 40,961
 From my perspective I have no reason to believe all of you aren't just a figment 
of my imagination. I have seen no real evidence you existed before I was born
nor any proof you will be here after I am gone. 
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Male 610
Solipsism rules! It's all a simulation in Gerry1of1 's mind. 
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Male 4,053
yeah come on. man all the so called science posts are a bit one sided on the derp side
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Male 40,961
If this is all a game I WANT MY MONEY BACK! 


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Male 40,961
Before computers the question was "Is this real or is it all a dream".

Same dance - Different tune.
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Male 7,086
In essence, it is a simulation.  It's a temporary simulation to separate the wheat from the chaff, with lots of wickedness and righteousness going on in it.  God runs it, and it's sort of a dry run for the reality, which is absolute perfection.

The simulation ends when the righteous are taken from it, having passed the requirements for reality, and then placed in reality.  The wicked remaining in the simulation will be deleted with it, Simulation.Delete();

It's not too difficult to understand at all, and here's the kicker, for those who are wise enough, God allows them elevated privileges within that simulation, such as what Christ was given.  Granted, none will come close to His level of privileges in the simulation, that's reserved for reality, but there are certain privileges afforded to those who know and honor God, which may indeed appear to be quite matrix-like to those who aren't aware of how things are.

So, want to have the best time?  Want to see true reality?  Then do what ever it takes to honor God and love others, and you might find yourself in places the crowd has never seen, doing things the crowd has never known..
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Male 449
monkwarrior That's a pretty savage God you describe. I don't say this to poke at your beliefs, if you can believe that. However, if God has so much power and wisdom, why not make our world full of bliss and happiness and one in which God loves us unconditionally? Isn't that what a loving being would do? 
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Male 7,086
mrsnowmeiser Not at all, that's simply your indoctrination into an anti-Christ mindset that's speaking.

Haven't you heard the saying "with great power comes great responsibility"?  Sin and iniquities have no place in the kingdom of God, nor will they inherit the kingdom of God.  The power that someone will have in the kingdom of God will make each person there look as if they are gods to us here today.  That's a lot of power to wield, and God knows that it requires a righteous mindset to wield sensibly, not a sinful one.

God does love us unconditionally, and wants us to share in all that He has, but wickedness has no place in God's presence, because God is holy, and asks us to be holy, and is love, and asks us to love.  Sin and iniquities go against holiness and love, which is why God says "The wicked will perish".

God wanted us to love Him freely, and that means that humans had to have a choice to do so or not.  God doesn't want mindless slaves.  You can learn of God's unconditional love for the world, as John 3:16-17 says "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whomsoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life".

You really should get to know your creator instead of assuming things about Him.
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Male 5,539
monkwarrior “...but wickedness has no place in God's presence...”

Some of the most wicked people on this planet are preachers. Manipulating poor people out of money, molesting innocent children, demonizing gay people, etc.
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Male 7,086
markust123 You are simply speaking your own bias, and beside that, nothing indicates that your claim is true.  In fact you'll find some of the holiest people in this world are those who teach others of God's word,
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Male 5,539
monkwarrior Dude, serious? You don't understand the corruption and abuse that sometimes happens in religious organizations? Really? You can't be that blind. Yes, the majority of churches and their leaders are good but there are some very bad seeds. I was just pointing out your hypocrisy. There are going to be some preachers that have a lot of explaining to do when they die.
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Male 7,086
markust123 abuse and corruption can happen in any organization in this world of sin.  However it's your own bias that says "some of the most wicked people on this planet are preachers", because you can't gauge that.  As i previously mentioned, if there is corruption in the church, you can bet there is at least a 10-fold increase in other worldly institutions or organizations.
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Male 5,539
monkwarrior Actually I can gauge it from the massive amounts of church related child rape cases and also all the televangelists who prey on poor people for money. How can someone who not only believes in God but preaches the word of God, do these incredibly immoral acts? That is something I have never understood. Why should I believe in organized religion when some of the very people leading churches don't live the virtues they preach?
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Male 7,086
markust123 then you have flawed gauges.  As stated previously,  if there is corruption in the church, you can bet there is at least a 10-fold increase in other worldly institutions or organizations. 

Most people of the church do live by the virtues they preach, that's part of the reason they join the church.  But as you said some people will use the position of authority to take advantage of others, however it's far worse outside the church.  we are in a world of sin
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Male 5,539
monkwarrior You're skirting around my question. How can someone (a preacher) who not only believes in God but preaches the word of God, do these incredibly immoral acts?
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Male 7,086
markust123 Ever hear of a wolf in sheep's clothing?
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Male 5,539
monkwarrior It is that exact reluctance of Christians to accept responsibility for their own that allows pedofile priests to continue their sick ways for years and years as they are pushed on to other parishes. It is that exact reluctance of Christians to accept responsibility for their own that allows television evangelists to rob poor people blind.
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Male 7,086
markust123 you seem to have a fixation on pedophile priests who corrupt themselves, but ignore the huge number of people who speak of Christ and benefit others.
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Male 5,539
monkwarrior That was a pretty lame attempt at distraction. I was talking about the church protecting corruption. You are quickly working your way up to being the most dishonest debater on IAB.
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Male 7,086
markust123 The church does work at removing corruption.  Just because you have a fixation on pedophile priests and listen to what the media tells you, doesn't mean there are people in the church working to remove corruption.
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Male 449
monkwarrior You state the following:"Sin and iniquities have no place in the kingdom of God", "wickedness has no place in God's presence". Since God is all powerful, omniscient, and omnipresent, God can eliminate sin and wickedness from human beings in a heartbeat. I ask you: why does he not do this immediately, then? I'd like an answer to this if you don't mind. 

Since God has the power to immediately cure humans of all of our ailments, I can only think of two main reasons why he doesn't: 1) he isn't as powerful as claimed or 2) he is either testing us or doesn't care about us, both of which are morally reprehensible as God presumably created us-in his image, no less, and purports to love us. 
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Male 7,086
mrsnowmeiser God can and will do this any time He so wills.  Why doesn't He do it immediately?  Because there are still people who have yet to be saved from perishing, and while we have passed the point of no return, wickedness has yet to grow to like the days before Noah (rest assured it's getting there). God is the most powerful, and while it may indeed be a test, it's more about people learning the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (B.I.B.L.E).  If you study them you'll be able to understand your Creator on a greater level, and understand His reasoning much better than you do now.
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Male 1,432
monkwarrior So are you saying that your god allows those that don't love him to suffer?
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Male 7,086
lockner01 Our God and Creator said "The wicked will perish", if you want to get to know your God and Creator, you should study His word.
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Male 203
monkwarrior God creates everything, hence god created wickedness. Then god punishes the wicked, but he knew they would be. This simulation is a giant masturbation by your god. 

Your god is simultaneously a sadist, masochist, and evil. His "word" is fucktard, apparently, because he created you.
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Male 7,086
BuckeyeJoe God did create wickedness, but God is Holy and knows the ultimate end of wickedness is death, and the end of holiness is life.  This is why God says "Be Holy", and "The wicked will perish".  

If you created nanobots and half of them malfunctioned and didn't do what you commanded them to do, and actually wrecked a few things you really liked, even tried wiping out the non-malfunctining nanobots that you loved and amazed you, wouldn't you destroy the malfunctioning nanobots?
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Male 203
monkwarrior If I created nanobots and several malfunctioned when I didn't want them to then clearly I am not all powerful. 

So you god is not all powerful. Either that, or he did exactly what he intended, and created malfunctioning humans KNOWING they would malfunction and he would punish them for it.

God is either impotent or evil. Pick one.
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Male 7,086
BuckeyeJoe What if you decided "hey, i want to do a real test, i'm going to let them do whatever they want, anything!  Whatever they can think of they can do!  Sure, i could easily program them to do exactly what i say, but i want these nanobots to take on their own life and multiply, so i can weed out the good ones from the bad after 300 iterations"
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Male 203
monkwarrior You don't seem to get it. 

In the scenario above, god does not know what the nanobots will do after 300 iterations. Hence, god needs to wait for them to "weed themselves out." If this was god, then god is not all-knowing. If god is not all-knowing, then why do you worship him as a god? He fails the definition.

If god IS all knowing, then he knew exactly which ones would be good and which would be bad when he created the test. Since he is all-powerful, he absolutely had control over the initial conditions. In fact, god knows the end result of every test he could possibly create (which is any test at all).

BUT, he specifically chose THIS test, the Universe where I am writing this right now. He also KNEW before he made the test that I would fail (be atheist). 

So why is there a test at all? Doesn't he know already? And why will I be punished for a test he made where he knew I would fail? He could have easily made a test where I succeeded. 

Plus, he is all-powerful. So he has the power to create a test with initial conditions such that everyone "passes." But he chose not to do so. 

He made a test knowing which ones would fail and be punished with eternal torture. He also had the power to prevent this. 

Either way you slice it, he is either all-powerful and evil, or impotent and not a god.
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Male 7,086
BuckeyeJoe Yes God does know all things, but how loving would it be to deny the nanobots the choice to find their ultimate end without letting them make the choice?
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Male 203
monkwarrior They DONT make the choice. God created this Universe, the Universe where I am an atheist, and did so deliberately. If everything I do was determined beforehand, then I AM NOT CHOOSING.

Jesus, you are so dense.
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Male 7,086
BuckeyeJoe We all make choices.  God does know what our choices are, but we don't know what they are.  You may be atheist, but before the end you will confess God, as everyone else will.
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583
Pop science. Nick Bostrum wrote Superintelligence, a self-contradicting book full of holes. I wouldn't hold his work up as the cornerstone of the definition of reality.

And in the video, they talk about "so if we're in a simulation, then we're just code and can be backed up". Seriously? You make this vast amazing declaration and then just box it straight back in with current definitions of computers?
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Male 5,539
This theory is just like religion. You can't prove or disprove that we are not in a simulation. But because some people are so stupid, and lead such boring lives, I have zero belief that we are in a simulation.
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Male 4,532
markust123 Do you appreciate how many simulated universes already exist?  Why do you think this one is "prime"?  Because you are playing on it? :P
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Female 8,274
Define reality? I'm not a fan of cartesian duality- but you don't have to buy the soul stuff to get the basics- because really the God is perfect line was the ONLY way to get himself out of the fairly large hole he had dug for himself. 
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Male 246
This theory shouldn’t be surprising at all to anyone.  It’s the next evolutionary step in our desire to understand existence.  It makes perfect sense as we’re in the midst of the age of technology.  As Rah made sense, then Zeus and God.  In 100 years, we’ll have priests of the Simulation Theory who’ll figure out how to use it to make money and control the masses.  
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Male 7,086
Django doubtful, people have been trying to minimize God for 1000's of years, it's just not happening.
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Male 7,086
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
 Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
 Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
 Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?— The Epicurean paradox, ~300 BCE[177]

God is both able and willing, He created evil and has made it clear, that it will be among us for a time He wills.  God created both good and evil, knows the ultimate end results of both, and commands and shows us to live as He asks: "Be holy as I am holy". Remember with great power comes great responsibility, and since God has asked us "Know you not that ye are gods?", it indicates the great power God has in store for us.

That kind of power isn't for the wicked and evil, as God has said "The wicked will perish". 

So, you see, 'the problem of evil' is flawed, because it's born of ignorance, or poor understanding of the actual situation surrounding good and evil. It's simply a flawed argument used as justification for a rejection of God, and quite a feeble one at that.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news to your great 'revelation'.
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Male 40,961
monkwarrior Which god? You meant Zeus, right?  Or Oden?  Maybe Quetzalcoatl !
So many gods to choose from. And of course all of them claim to be right. 
Makes ya believe in simulation doesn't it.
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Male 7,086
Gerry1of1 The only God.  The God who created all things.
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Male 4,053
Gerry1of1 shhh those "gods" doesnt exist. other people traditions and cultures don't exist only monkwarriors
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Male 7,086
rumham it's quite a shame you prefer mockery to understanding, you miss out on a lot and make yourself look ridiculous.
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Male 4,053
monkwarrior you mock other people cultures brodeo
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Male 7,086
rumham care to back that up?  I know you can't.
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Male 4,053
monkwarrior are you a fan of buddism or toaism or hinduism or jainism or rastafarianism. or shintoism. or is it just your jesus cult that leads to the one true spirital mountaintop.
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Male 7,086
rumham I've studied every major religion on earth, and i can see all of them pointing to the only God; the Creator of all things.
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Male 40,961
monkwarrior It is not mockery. Those are the revered gods of cultures
other than your own. It is logic to question which one(s) are real.
Only a simpleton would look at a spec in front of them and assume
that is all there is to the universe. You are many things but not a simpleton.
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Male 7,086
Gerry1of1 rumhamm was mocking faiths.  I've studied just about every major religion on earth.  It's no question to me that there is only one God, because if you look deeply into them, you will see God's hand at work.
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Female 57
monkwarrior    you've studied every major religion on earth and yet you still have time to disrespect others here who don't follow your principles.  it seems to me that such a 'learned' individual would be a touch more open-minded, no?
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Male 7,086
chickenfarts When dealing with people who have irrational hate, as i frequently do on the internet, sometimes a hard love has to be exercised.  If people don't like seeing the err of their way, or want to refuse correction, then it's really on them to look for resolutions.  I make no apologies for being direct and gruff, as i've been trained to fight, not sugarcoat.
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Male 4,053
monkwarrior i mocked your faith and you got all emotional, but you dont give a shit about the rest of worlds idea of the unseen spiritiual world. just your own little derp bubble. you troll yourself with your behavior.. yeah "monk"
wow
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Male 7,086
rumham i'm not emotional by saying "It's a shame you prefer mockery to understanding, you miss out on a lot and make yourself look ridiculous."  That's pointing out your err by mocking.  But clearly you are getting emotional over that.
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Male 4,053
monkwarrior no i was mocking christians faith of mocking everyone elses religion you idiot. please dude.
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Male 7,086
rumham sorry you were mocking every faith.
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Male 1,432
monkwarrior So you put your faith in The Bible. The first commandment of The Bible is 

" I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me. "

However you are saying that all religions point to one god. Buddha, Allah etc are all the same.
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Male 7,086

lockner01 There is only ONE GOD

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Male 1,432
monkwarrior But then why bother having a commandment saying "thou shall not have strange gods before me".  Would not any icon of any god be an icon of the one god if there was only one god?
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Male 7,086
lockner01 study on your own, since you've demonstrated numerous times you don't want to learn and simply troll.
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Male 1,432
monkwarrior That's not true.  I'm asking a sincere and honest question.  If you only deflect by calling me a troll you're demonstrating that you're not willing to discuss issues and only spout dogma.
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Male 7,086
lockner01 You have done nothing but troll.  If you want to prove you're sincere and honest, go study scripture to find the answer to your question.  Though you'll have to let go of your trolling mindset, as i can see you don't want to learn, but argue.  You claim to be sincere, but it comes across dishonest and insincere.  So do what it takes to resolve your problem.  
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Male 1,432
monkwarrior Philosophers for generations have been discussing "The problem with evil"; from Epicurus to Kant, Hume to Malthus.  I read their works and find the ideas interesting.  It's a discussion not an argument.  I'm glad you've solved a problem that not one philosopher has been able to solve for over 2000 years.
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Male 7,086
lockner01 Run along troll, "the problem of evil" was already discussed clearly with you, and the error was already noted, which you continue to ignore.
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Male 1,432
monkwarrior I'm glad you've solved a problem that philosophers have struggled with for over 2,000 years.  It's interesting that when faced with a valid discussion topic you fall back onto calling people trolls.
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Male 7,086
lockner01 Run along and take your ignorance with you, along with your failed argument.  Peddle it elsewhere.
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Male 1,432
monkwarrior Could you please explain what my failed argument is.  Seriously I would like to know.
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Male 7,086
lockner01 "the problem of evil"
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Male 1,432
monkwarrior This is one topic I've always been interested in and enjoy discussing. I've had many civil debates with people that hold similar beliefs to you.  I would be more than willing to have a discussion with you but I know that's not something you're willing to do.
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Male 7,086
lockner01 Sorry, "the problem of evil" was already discussed clearly with you, and the error it made was already noted, which you continue to ignore, as most people who deny God do.
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Male 1,432
monkwarrior Can you remind me or point me to the thread we discussed it?
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Male 7,086
lockner01 use google.
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Male 1,432
monkwarrior So as I've said multiple times before is that I have read many books on the subject.  I just don't remember what error you think I've made with the problem.  And I don't feel like searching through hundreds of threads.  If you can't explain my error I understand.
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Male 7,086
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
 Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
 Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
 Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?— The Epicurean paradox, ~300 BCE[177]

God is both able and willing, He created evil and has made it clear, that it will be among us for a time He wills.  God created both good and evil, knows the ultimate end results of both, and commands and shows us to live as He asks: "Be holy as I am holy". Remember with great power comes great responsibility, and since God has asked us "Know you not that ye are gods?", it indicates the great power God has in store for us.

That kind of power isn't for the wicked and evil, as God has said "The wicked will perish". 

So, you see, 'the problem of evil' is flawed, because it's born of ignorance, or poor understanding of the actual situation surrounding good and evil. It's simply a flawed argument used as justification for a rejection of God, and quite a feeble one at that.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news to your great 'revelation'.
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Male 610
Belief in a simulated universe is analogous to belief in God. Both are unknowable. I'd expect the type of conversation to be similar as well. 

Next thing, the "experts" will argue about the type of simulated universe; hackers (prophets) will claim to be able to break the simulation code (miracles); and then we'll have crusades for the one "true simulation"! Virtual Apocalypse is near! 
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Male 4,053
boredhuman and btw, we all live "simulated" consciousness. we make our own reality. look at certain morons here on i-a-b, myself included
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Male 4,016
boredhuman Gives an interesting meaning to the Creator\Creationist Theory...God ends up being Bob from IT Support...
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Female 4,758
If that's the case, I have OBVIOUSLY not purchased enough loot-crates for upgrades.

EA is running things... bet.
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Male 4,053
melcervini seems more legit :P
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Male 8,381
melcervini ROFL!!! I hear ya, my Owner is too cheap to give me loot crates to advance me, wants to do it the old fashioned way!
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Male 1,107
Does it actually matter?

Myself, I discount the "simulated universe" theory.  Basically, it is way too much work for too little gain.

Nature is all about optimization of energy usage.
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Male 10
punko Is it though? What if it's the product of a civilization that is billions of years old? What else do they have to do with their time?
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Male 4,016
This was broken down for me recently.  If there is the possibility that a quantum computer system can be created to simulate reality perfectly, than the likelihood of us already living in that simulated reality becomes exponential.  So unless we are living in the "Prime" universe where said simulated reality is born, we are just a bunch of 1s and 0s.
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Male 610
kalron27 There's a flaw in that logic. Just because something can possibly happen, doesn't mean it happens. Math is a tool, which can be used to back up bad arguments. 
Have you heard this argument for god? The likelihood of a planet in the universe like earth that is conducive to life is minuscule (math as evidence). Life developing into humans randomly is also minuscule (more math evidence). Therefore, math proves God! Ironclad argument, right? 
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Male 4,016
boredhuman Meh, you missed the simplicity.  If it is possible than it has happened...with the exception of the "Prime" Universe...which we could be in.
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Male 4,532
Mathematically, its a practical certainty that this is a simulated universe.
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Male 698
daegog Only if you assume it is possible to model an entire universe as a subset of another universe.  Although, it would do a lot to explain Fermi's paradox.  Much easier to simulate just a planet, and reduce the complexity of the rest of the universe.
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Male 4,532
muert "complexity" is too relative here to give it much merit in this scope.

What we think of as complex is probably something a retarded monkey could solve in 5 minutes in a hyper advanced society.

I figure the vast majority of universes must be simulated (given that we are even simulating them ourselves), the idea that we are on the one "prime" universe that is unsimulated seems to remote to consider.
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