If physics is inconsistent it's more likely we're in a computer simulation. If physics is internally self-consistent then it's more likely we're in a really real reality. Alas, we have contradictions / inconsistencies in physics – relativity vs. quantum mechanics for example. Therefore, you probably exist in a simulation and physics can provide the evidence. So, here's my follow-up collection of evidence from physics.
The Simulation Hypothesis and Information
"What is real?" – Information! "How do you define real?" – Information!
Some people suggest that the Simulation Hypothesis is nonsense because it's akin to suggesting that there's actually tiny people inside your TV set or there is a little being present inside your mind that's observing, processing and directing the action.
My counter is that it's not the forms that exist in a simulation that hold sway, rather what is actually being simulated; what is actually important is information.
For starters, simulations, virtual reality exists! People are totally immersed in virtual reality. There's obviously your own dreams, hardly what you would describe as really real reality. You reside in a virtual reality when you digest the information in a book or watch a movie / TV show or play a video game or train in a simulator; even when you interact in an Internet forum. And of course you've witnessed thousands of people glued to their smart phones totally immersed in the virtual reality they provide.
There's a relationship between mathematics, simulations and information. Now I don't personally believe that space (as in outer space) actually exists on the grounds that space has no architecture and isn't composed of anything, Einstein's General Theory of Relativity notwithstanding. Space is just mathematics (Einstein's field equations), information and therefore probably just a simulation.
Mathematics is and yields up information. Solve for X – you get information. The flip side is that information can be expressed mathematically, built from the ground up by those digital bits and bytes.
So back to the issue of the reality of space. The 'behavior' of space in the presence or absence of mass (warping, curving, bending, flexing, twisting, etc.) is information expressed mathematically in those Einsteinian field equations. Einstein's General Theory of Relativity just describes gravity as being just geometry which of course is just described by mathematics. Starlight bends around the mass of our Sun. That's information. The flip side is that the behavior of space (bending the starlight) is a mathematical construct expressed as information – what the starlight does when passing close to the Sun.
Or as Seth Lloyd has expressed it, the Universe just is a computer that processes information. [Lloyd, Seth; "Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos"; Jonathan Cape, London; 2006.]
Now you are just a packet of information that happens to be in the form of a human. My cat is a packet of different information that happens to be in the form of a cat. Felix the Cat is a cartoon cat yet still is just a packet of information that this time takes the form of a cartoon cat. The characters in the video game Dungeons & Dragons are packets of information; ditto Conway's "Game of Life", a simulation involving the evolution of artificial 'life' forms. They are all just information! Everything in really real reality – assuming we exist in a really real reality – is information. Everything that exists in virtual reality is just information.
So again, information can be expressed and exist as a form of virtual reality or within a framework of virtual reality. You are a packet of information. Therefore you can be expressed as having an existence in a virtual reality framework. You (as a packet of just information) could be reconstructed from the ground up as programmed computer software to whatever degree of realism the programmer desires. So a software programmed version of you is a virtual reality version of you. If you or my cat are just bundles of information, then those bundles can be simulated.
So you post information on an Internet forum. In the information pathway from your alleged really real reality to my alleged really real reality, you've (or your information) had to transcend / transmit through a virtual reality medium. So why not consider instead that the information pathway was from your virtual reality to my virtual reality via the same virtual reality medium?
Now if 'you' had been just an artificial intelligence software generated program responding to my Internet forum posts then 'you' would also have been virtual reality as far as I, the viewer / reader is concerned. It's possible to create virtual reality as noted above. If 'you' could be created as virtual reality, so we (our life, our Universe and our everything) could be a virtual reality simulation created and viewed by "The Other" (a person or persons or things unknown) for reason (s ) unknown.
Now some people make a big issue of virtual reality being nonsense because you have a 'person' inside a video game or inside the TV set. Of course the form / shape within virtual reality is secondary and rather beside the point. It's the information that's important. The form / shape could be a 'humanoid' or a 'talking cat' or an 'animated paperclip' for that matter. What you see isn't relevant, it's what you get that's relevant and that's the information. It ultimately doesn't matter if the video game features a supervillain or a fire-breathing dragon; whether or not it's a damsel in distress or an entire village under attack. It's the information; the scenario that's important. Of course if you're partial to fire-breathing dragons over supervillains you'll buy the video game featuring dragons but the scenario is the same.
The Simulation Hypothesis and Exceptions to the Rule.
When it comes to those laws, principles and relationships within the physical sciences, especially physics, you wouldn't, before-the-fact, expect there to be exceptions to the rules. Alas there are, and therein lies the rub that points the way, by way of explanation, to the Simulation Hypothesis.
* Causality – cause and effect – rules the roost. Except when it comes to radioactive decay which apparently happens in an unpredictable fashion for absolutely no reason at all.
* The First Law of Thermodynamics states that matter / energy can neither be created (out of an absolute nothing) nor destroyed. But taking the Universe as a whole, apparently the energy density of the Universe remains constant even though the Universe is expanding. Where is this 'free lunch' energy coming from if not out of an absolute nothing.
* Velocity: Velocities can be added and subtracted. If you are on a train moving at 50 mph and you walk towards the front of that train at 5 mph, then relative to the ground you are moving at 55 mph. Alas, if you shine a flashlight toward the front of the train the velocity of that light beam isn't the speed of light plus 50 mph relative to the ground. A ground observer will see the speed of light moving at just the speed of light.
* Gravity: Newton's law of gravity works, except at high velocities. Why doesn't it work regardless of what velocity objects are moving at? At first glance it would appear that something is screwy somewhere.
* Symmetry: Physics and symmetry go like hand in glove. When it comes to the forces of nature, things are supposed to be symmetrical with respect to time (T), charge (C) and parity (P). However, there is one exception. There are CP violations noted in certain weak force decays such that one handedness is favored over another thus breaking the symmetry.
* Unification: You'd expect that if there is just one Mother Nature that it would be relatively easy to unify the four forces into a coherent package. Alas, it's to date proven impossible to unify gravity with the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force. Thus, to date, no "Theory of Everything" (TOE).
* Matter / Antimatter: There is every reason before-the-fact to expect there to be equal amounts of both matter and antimatter (one of those expected symmetries) present and accounted for in the Universe. Alas, there is not. The lack of antimatter is the exception to that expectation.
* Dual Existence: Something cannot be in two (or more) places at the same time, except in quantum physics apparently.
So, are some or all of the above exceptions to the rule just examples of special effects brought on by computer software, software programmed by a programmer who has designed and fine-tuned our life, the Universe and everything as an example of a virtual reality landscape?
The Simulation Hypothesis and the Observer Effect.
The "Observer Effect" basically states that reality is determined by (usually) conscious entities observing said reality. So observers collapse the superposition-of-state wave function from a state of this AND that down to a state of this OR that. As Einstein famously asked, does the Moon exist if nobody is actually looking at it? So here are a few random thoughts about the "Observer Effect".
* There's no universal agreement on what constitutes an observer. Does it HAVE to be a consciousness entity and more to the point, a human being?
* If an observer has to be something living then there was a time when the Universe was lifeless, so then what?
* If collapse-of-the-wave-function requires an observer then what was the state-of-play before there were observers? There apparently could be no collapse-of-the-wave-function anywhere.
* You go through your daily routine and never observe that your act of observing alters the behavior of anything non-living at all.
* Regarding superposition-of-state, something cannot both be and not be at the same time. If something is so observed then there's been no collapse-of-the-wave-function which violates one major interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.
* Quantum Mechanics / Physics invokes two main concepts. Firstly, there's the inherent concept of the observer / measurement. Observing and measuring invokes the second concept of indeterminacy / probability. Now, let's just change things and add the word "no" in front of the first concept. So, no observer / no measurement. IMHO that then translates into no indeterminacy / no probability.
* So there's no probability in Quantum Mechanics in the absence of an observer.
* The "Observer Effect" is ruled null-and-void by the apparent fact that once upon a time within the Universe there were NO damn observers and yet the Universe kept ticking on blissfully unaware of this
* So we don't actually need observers to explain life, the Universe and everything.
* There's no mechanism by which a passive observer affects what is going to happen since what happens happened before the information about what happened reached the observer. And thus the observer had no say in the outcome of the matter.
* The basic problem with the "Observer Effect" is that whatever happened would have happened even had the observer NOT be present. So something happens and THEN it is observed. It's not the case of someone observing and THEN something happens.
In conclusion, there can be NO "Observer Effect". Firstly there was a time in the Universe before there were observers and the Universe got along very nicely without anyone or anything peeking out from behind a celestial curtain. Secondly, information travels from what's being observed to the observer (information that would have been transmitted regardless) and NOT the other way around, unless of course the observer deliberately pokes the object under observation / measurement which sort of defeats learning about the object in its natural setting. And evidence for the "Observer Effect" to the contrary as the Quantum Zeno Effect and in the Double Slit Experiment is suggestive of a virtual reality and not of a really real reality.
The Simulation Hypothesis and the Fundamental Constants.
So we have here a whole potful of nature's fundamental / physical constants ** yet none can be derived from first principles or can any of the values be derived theoretically and to top it all off they have no apparent connection to each other. The speed of light has no apparent relationship to the electron's electric charge for example. You couldn't predict from first principles that on a level frictionless surface, two bowling balls would come together under a mutually attractive force we call gravity.
So, in the Simulation Hypothesis, there would be one separate and apart software code for each of the physical constants.
** Charge on the electron (proton, positron, etc.); mass of the electron (proton, positron, etc.); speed of light in a vacuum; gravitational constant, etc.
The Simulation Hypothesis And My Big TOE
Quantum Gravity otherwise known as the Theory of Everything (TOE) is the Holy Grail of all things physics. Why? Well, there are two types of physics. There is classical physics, the physics you have to deal with in your day-to-day macro world. Then there is quantum physics, the physics of the very, very tiny; the micro worlds which for all practical purposes are, if not irrelevant, at least unnoticed in your day-to-day existence.
Another distinction is that macro or classical physics is a continuum, like a ruler. Quantum or micro physics are bits and pieces; discrete units, like money. You can have one and three quarter inches; you can't have one and three quarter cents. So what's the problem?
Well, there are four fundamental forces that control life, the Universe and everything. Three of these are quantum forces or operate from or within the realm of the micro-micro-microscopic. This trilogy is comprised of the strong nuclear force (which hold atomic nuclei together); the weak nuclear force (which allows atomic nuclei to break apart – radioactivity) and electromagnetism (which gives you light to see by and radio and TV to enjoy). The other and final force however is a continuum – gravity. It's like there being three brothers and one sister!
As in the sibling's case, physicists suspect that all four are born of one parentage. Alas, the DNA doesn't match up! Gravity apparently has different parents! Now that just won't do. One Universe should allow for, indeed require, one ultimate parentage. Alas, despite all the best efforts of all the finest physics in the world over many generations, the three brothers just don't share a common DNA with their alleged sister. My resolution is that perhaps that really is the case. The idea that there is quantum gravity is just a straightforward impossibility. There are indeed two sets of parents – one resulting in quantum triplets; the other producing an only child – gravity. The two are unrelated.
To restate the situation, we have the theory of general relativity (gravity) and quantum physics. Both are bedrocks of modern physics. Both are accurate to a high degree of experimental precision. Both aren't compatible – with each other. Apparently, one (or both) of these theories must be wrong, or at best incomplete. That's why the unification of the two (a theory of Quantum Gravity) is physics' Holy Grail. However, that Holy Grail is proving as difficult to find as the Biblical Grail itself! But for the moment, it appears as if the universe has two independent sets of laws (or sets of running software) – one governing the very large (gravity); one the very small (the quantum). This makes no natural or scientific sense.
We have observations of four physical forces yet no theory which unites the three quantum forces (electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force) with the one classical force – gravity. Theory needs to be satisfied. All of the four fundamental forces should be interconnected; some sort of unification principle must be in operation that relates all four, one to the other. However, these four fundamental forces that govern the Universe show no signs of any obvious unification – well actually the three quantum ones do (known as the GUT – Grand Unified Theory), but that's where the unification ends. Gravity remains the wallflower. If the Big Bang theory is to be proven correct as stated, scientists must of necessity come up with a viable theory of Quantum Gravity that is an acceptable unification of the trio of quantum forces with gravity. There is, to date, no viable theory of Quantum Gravity despite thousands of physicists searching for one over many generations now. Even for the final 30 years of his life Einstein searched for his big TOE but never found it.
In summary, the realm of the micro and the realm of the macro are incompatible, like two different sets of software that are separate and apart but collectively run the cosmos. Again, that makes no sense. It should be relatively easy to unify all four forces. Einstein and thousands in his footsteps have found out the hard way that it's damn hard to get a TOE. Mother Nature is a bitch!
Now, the real question is what are the implications if there is no such animal as a unified theory or a TOE? What if we have a case of never have so many spent so much time and effort over so little (actually nothing)? With the passage of every day, the missing TOE appears unlikely ever to be found. Then what?
My prediction is that there will never be a TOE because there really are two incompatible sets of software governing the virtual reality cosmos.
The Simulation Hypothesis and the General Theory of Relativity
According to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, as mass / gravity increases, an object within that mass / gravity field, as far as being viewed by an external observer is concerned, notes that's object's time (ie – change and motion) gets more and more sluggish as that mass / gravity field gets stronger and stronger, getting to extremes at the event horizon of a Black Hole. Light takes more time to pass through mass (like air, water, glass) than it does to pass through a vacuum. And light takes a longer pathway (it curves) when it passes near massive objects and associated gravity fields. It takes more time to go from A to B. Light that would otherwise go from a Quasar directly in a straight line to our eyeballs gets bend around a galaxy that is between said Quasar and our eyeballs.
Now in a computer, the more you load in terms of programs running the more sluggish; the longer it takes for things (processing) to happen. So the more 'mass' that's loaded and up and running on a computer, the longer things take or in other words time (change and motion) slows down. So if it takes more computer crunch power, more bits and bytes to simulate a lot of virtual objects and a high albeit virtual gravity field, then the time / change / motion effects are also simulated due to the greater processing work load the computer has to bear. Of course the equations governing the General Theory of Relativity could also be part of the computer's programming. Further, in the latter (computer) case you also have the events from the perspective of an external observer. Internal observers (like video game characters) wouldn't notice anything amiss any more than the object / person who was being affected by a massive gravity field would notice anything was amiss. Anyway, that's a rather interesting parallel when viewed from the perspective of the Simulation Hypothesis.
The Simulation Hypothesis and Black Holes.
Here's a question: Are Black Holes Evidence For A Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe?
A Black Hole generates gravity but how can that gravity (graviton particles) extend beyond the Black Hole's Event Horizon? How is this possible? Why is this so?
So here's the paradox. Nothing can readily escape from inside the Event Horizon of a Black Hole **, not even photons of light and other electromagnetic radiation can flee from a Black Hole once trapped inside. But obviously gravity and gravitons can escape from a Black Hole since a Black Hole has gravity which extends beyond the Event Horizon. So photons can't and gravitons can so IMHO something is screwy somewhere. Perhaps this is just another cosmic oops made by our fallible Supreme Programmer who I often postulate as the entity responsible for creating our virtual reality landscape!
** Excepting of course Hawking Radiation but that's like a slow dripping faucet compared to a gushing fire hose. In any event, when it comes to a Black Hole, one can easily say that incoming matter and energy exceeds outgoing matter and energy – except for the anomaly of the graviton.