It has been proposed, by many people over many centuries, that our reality might not be quite what it seems. Since the evolution, even revolution in information technology and the computer, some have suggested that our reality is akin to the reality of the characters in our computer-generated simulations and video games. As we can create virtual reality, so to might our reality be virtual. While there is no proof this is true, one can muster up evidence for the proposal that we are virtual reality beings existing in a simulated landscape. Here’s some of that evidence.
The Simulation Hypothesis: The Best Mathematical Evidence
*Mathematical Probability: Virtual / simulated worlds will vastly outnumber or exceed the one base reality. Therefore what are the odds we are residents of the one base reality?
*Mathematical Pixilation: Life, the Universe and everything is pixelated – it’s all binary, not analog (i.e. – continuous). Virtual reality is also pixelated.
*Mathematical Effectiveness: Then there’s the “Unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences” according to physicist Eugene Wigner in describing the laws, principles and relationships inherent in the natural sciences. Why mathematics should be the foundation is one of those unanswered Big Questions.
*Mathematical Equations: The coefficients and exponents that are part and parcel of the mathematical equations that relate to the various operations inherent inside this Universe of ours almost always tend to be simple low value whole numbers (i.e. – I, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.) and simple fractions (1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 2/3, 3/4, etc.) against all before-the-fact expectations.
*Mathematical Concepts: Mathematical concepts like the Bell Curve, the Fibonacci Numbers and say the Golden Ratio seem to be without any rhyme or reason very, very prevalent within Mother Nature’s external realm. Why is this so? Nobody knows.
*Mathematical Fine-Tuning: Mathematics is finely-tuned to yield exact results, like Force equals Mass times Acceleration, not Force sort of equals Mass times Acceleration sometimes, say just on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Mathematics says Ten-Squared equals One Hundred at all times and not just on odd days of the month. In a similar way, so too is our Universe apparently finely-tuned to allow atoms, molecules and more complex chemical compounds to exist, ultimately allowing you to exist, survive even thrive. The electron’s electric charge is exactly equal and opposite to the electric charge on the proton, not just in months that only end in “Y”. Pure water has certain properties which are consistent and constant. You’re not likely to heat up the tea kettle and have the water inside turn into ice and freeze solid.
*Mathematical Symmetry: What is symmetry if not geometrical or dimensional relationships, relationships expressing equality between left and right, top and bottom, front and back. For some reason(s) which I can’t quite pin down, Mother Nature (in general) and human beings (in particular) love symmetry. Physicists especially love symmetry. There’s symmetry between an electron and a positron; in the electric charge between a proton and an electron; in the geometry behind the configuration of atoms and molecules; in the shapes of crystals, etc. Even large scale structures, like most galaxies (including our own galaxy) exhibit symmetry. Stars and planets are spherical (thanks to gravity) and planetary atmospheres – even if not always planetary surfaces – exhibit North / South symmetries.
But humans too love symmetry. You’d be hard pressed to find common household items, from plates to books to picture frames; cans, bottles, jars, and pills; floor tiles, wallpaper, and the patterns on our carpets and clothes and other household fabrics; from tables and chairs, that didn’t exhibit symmetry. Intersections tend to be at right angles; round-a-bouts are circular and cars and other forms of transport (trains, planes and ships) tend to exhibit left-right symmetry.
Many of our numbers and letters and symbols are symmetrical and what’s the “equals” sign but symmetry between the left and the right side of a mathematical equation. Of course many would argue that 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 as well as F, G, J, L, N, P, Q, R, and Z don’t have top – bottom or left – right symmetry. Of course both N and Z, if rotated 180-degrees end up as N and Z again. Anyway, if these examples are in 3-D, then they do have front-back symmetry, even if they don’t have top – bottom or left – right symmetry. Further, even if 6 and 9 don’t have traditional symmetry, both 69 and 96 if rotated 180-degrees end up as 69 and 96.
And humans tend to be attracted to humans that exhibit symmetry, especially facial symmetry. A lopsided human isn’t as attractive (and that probably features in the animal kingdom as well).
Most of the biological kingdom exhibits symmetry, usually left-right symmetry but often radial symmetry as well. Outer skin / scales / fur patterns too tend to be symmetrical as are plant leaves and seeds. You don’t have animals with an odd number of appendages / limbs, or eyes and ears for that matter.
Types of symmetries: There’s the symmetry of the one thing existing in space and then there’s the symmetry of equal and opposites which might reside in actual space or even just in mental space.
Symmetry – you can’t have the one without the other that’s equal and opposite. But why is this so?
In addition to the electron / positron (matter / antimatter) symmetry, there are multiple other equal-but-opposite symmetries that humans have come to acknowledge, from the yin / yang; hot / cold; heaven / hell; good / bad; wet / dry; tame / wild; male / female; particle / wave; mind / body; black / white; day / night; light / dark; peaks / troughs; rational / irrational; alive / dead; animate / inanimate; hard / soft; young / old; birth / death; life / non-life; finite / infinite; work / play (or leisure); asleep / awake; conscious / unconscious; something / nothing; past / future; rich / poor; sickness / health; and / or; start / finish; stop / go; atheism / theism; begin / end, north / south; east / west; etc.
And no doubt dedicated readers could extend this list hundreds of times over.
Does all of the above strike you as something that software, itself a mathematical construction, could and would accomplish?
The Simulation Hypothesis: One Best Piece of Evidence
There exists and remains an entire anomalous realm of “It can’t be therefore it isn’t” vs. “I know what I saw”.
Within that realm one needs to examine some anomaly that stands still! That excludes all things cryptozoological; UFOs / alien abductions; ball lightning (not that anomalous anymore though); ghosts and ghost ships, etc. However, one anomaly that is highly visible and stands still are crop circles. They have no natural explanation other than intelligent design. Obviously the intelligent designers are humans – or are they?
One thing that would set the cat among the pigeons would be a crop circle that formed in broad daylight with lots of potential witnesses around and nobody saw a thing. There is one such case. The Julia Set that appeared late in the afternoon close to Stonehenge and the busy A303 highway on the 7th of July of 1996.
That said, daylight crop circles have to be pretty much a one-off otherwise the virtual reality theory becomes fairly obvious.
Science librarian; retired.