The Simulation Hypothesis: Evidence From Astronomy
By John Prytz
If you agree that evidence is something that you can independently verify for yourself, then the following is evidence, albeit suggestive evidence, in favor of the Simulation Hypothesis. Be prepared to rethink everything you think you know.
The Simulation Hypothesis and Long Delayed Echoes
Long Delayed Echoes: Yet another software / computer-generated special effects related phenomenon could be the mystery of the LDE’s – Long Delayed Echoes. If you send off a radar pulse to the Moon say, you’d expect a return within a few seconds, not say a minute or an hour or a day later. If you did, an addition to the expected principal’s echo’s time interval, it would be a scientific anomaly of the highest order with the delayed echo having a decidedly unknown or uncertain origin. Well, such sporadic LDE’s have in fact happened starting in 1927 (through to the present) with no apparent consistency. It’s like sending a radar signal to the Moon at noon getting the expected few second echo and then another secondary echo one minute later; repeating the exercise at one pm with the principal few second delay echo received, but another unexpected delayed echo coming now five minutes later. In short, the phenomena is fleeting and non-repeatable and non-verifiable. Though various hypotheses have been suggested, none can adequately explain the sum total of LDE’s. An alien space probe (often termed a Bracewell probe) within our solar system is one of those hypotheses whereby the probe sends back a terrestrial radar/radio signal in order to attract attention to itself and therefore the existence of ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence. Or again, perhaps it’s all in the software. Now I’m not making this LDE – sometimes termed Long-Delayed radar or radio Echo – phenomena up. It’s well documented in the scientific literature.
The Simulation Hypothesis and Transient Lunar Phenomena
Transient Lunar Phenomena: Transient Lunar Phenomena (TLP) are absurd (but verified). The Moon is geologically dead and it has no atmosphere, so there just shouldn’t be sightings of mysterious lights and glows witnessed on the lunar surface. Sorry to say, TLP has been observed by both professional and amateur astronomers for yonks and while there are theories, the explanation(s) haven’t been pinned down. Perhaps another theory could reside in there being a simulated lunar landscape complete with intermittent lights and glows.
The Simulation Hypothesis and the Copernican Principle
The Copernican Principle basically states that Planet Earth and inhabitants therein are nothing special. There’s no reason to suggest that our Sun, solar system, home planet and all life forms therein are special in any shape manner or form. If you take all stars, all solar systems, all planets and all life forms in the Universe, we’d be pretty average. Now when put in the context of the Simulation Hypothesis, taking our terrestrial world as representing really real reality, we note that virtual realities, computer generated simulations, video / computer games, vastly outnumber the one and only really real reality. That discrepancy is increasing by leaps-and-bounds every day. So, our terrestrial world, that world that you believe is really real reality, violates the Copernican Principle because it’s not average. Dungeons-and-Dragons might be closer to the average landscape. Now go up one level and again there’s nothing special about Planet Earth as a simulated world since simulated worlds vastly outnumber the really real reality worlds.
The Simulation Hypothesis and Intelligent Design / Fine-Tuning
The apparent design behind and the resulting fine-tuning of the laws, principles and relationships of physics that translates into a bio-friendly cosmos is indeed compelling evidence that there is an intelligence behind it all, even if most of the cosmos is bio-unfriendly. However, rather than postulate a supernatural intelligence, I suggest the odds favour a flesh-and-blood intelligence, in fact a computer programmer that has designed a Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe, and we are part and parcel of that simulated landscape. That simulation would of course have to be fine-tuned to allow for a habitable albeit virtual landscape, in the exact same way as our video games are fine-tuned in order to make the game-playing logical in its depiction of ‘reality’. Design and fine-tuning might be an argument for intelligence, but it’s not of necessity an argument for God.
God is not the cause of our fine-tuned Universe because IMHO God or any other supernatural deity does not exist, but I do have a variation on the theme which would explain the fine-tuning. That variation is to replace an immortal and infallible supernatural deity with a fallible flesh-and-blood mortal software and computer programmer. Translated, we are virtual beings in a Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe. Now, if you are going to design a software program(s), that programming will have to be fine-tuned in order to achieve your objective. If you design a medical simulation for medical students to practice their skills on, you had better the bits and pieces right such that the medical students see the simulation as being fine-tuned to perfectly reflect medical reality and thus enable them to practice their skills with confidence. You don’t design the medical simulation and place the heart inside the head and have dingo kidneys programmed instead of human ones, etc. People who design our video games fine-tune the software or the program so that the entire gaming scenario is self-consistent not only for the player but also for the virtual characters. So, if some computer nerd designed our Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe, he’d be daft not to have fine-tuned it to create a consistent self-contained Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe. But, being fallible, he made a few oops, and those oops translate into many of the anomalies, perhaps also ‘miracles’ we observe in our virtual reality. What anomalies? Well they are too numerous to mention in there here-and-now but they tend to fall into the “It can’t be therefore it isn’t” versus the “I know what I saw” camp.
The Simulation Hypothesis and the Titius-Bode Law of Planetary Distances
Many of us are familiar with the ordering of the planets from nearest to farthest – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Then there is also the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Now there exists a mathematical relationship that apparently has no actual foundation in the realities of physical laws that to an amazing degree, tells you the average distances of those planets (and asteroid belt), That relationship is called the Titius-Bode Law of Planetary Distances. Here’s how it works. Take the sequence 0, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 96, 192, 384, and 768. You’ll note the constant doubling. Now add 4 to each number: 4, 7, 10, 16, 28, 52, 100, 196, 388, and 772. Now divide each number by 10: 0.4, 0.7, 1.0, 1.6, 2.8, 5.2, 10, 19.6, 38.8 and 77.2. Now one astronomical unit (AU) is the distance of the Earth from the Sun, and in astronomical units the other planets and the asteroids follow suit to a close approximation. So Mercury is 0.4 AU away from the Sun, Venus is 0.7 AU, Mars 1.6 AU, the asteroids roughly 2.8 AU, Jupiter 5.2 AU distant and so on and so on. Pluto is however slightly the odd one out here in that it has an extremely elliptical orbit that can be (and has) crossed the orbit of Neptune. But then again, Pluto isn’t really anymore considered to be a legitimate planet. Still, why is this Titius-Bode Law of Planetary Distances so? Who knows. It just works, that’s all. Maybe one could put it down to that’s what the software code programmed.
The Simulation Hypothesis and Solar Eclipses
If you take the entirety of all of the planetary abodes in our solar system, and all of the moons that orbit all of the planetary abodes in our solar system, when viewed from the parent body, no moon is just the right size and just the right distance as to produce a solar eclipse. Sorry, there’s one exception. Planet Earth and our Moon is that exception. Now what’s way more amazing is that Planet Earth is the only planet that’s inhabited by beings that can appreciate this spectacle. And we happen to be around at just the exactly perfect era when that Moon – Sun just-so match exists. That just-so match hasn’t always existed and it won’t always exist since the Moon is slowly receding from our home planet. So, do we have here a totally amazing coincidence or has someone / something simulated all of this?
The Simulation Hypothesis and Dark Matter / Dark Energy
There are other anomalies that physical sciences are having a hard time coming to terms with – that is, explaining them. For example, the concept of ‘dark matter’ must exist in order to explain the rotation and structure of galaxies. However, no one can see this ‘dark matter’. ‘Dark matter’ doesn’t interact with any part of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum, yet it has gravity. There’s also about five times more ‘dark matter’ in the Universe than there is ordinary matter – ordinary matter is the kind of matter that has gravity and does interact with the EM spectrum, things like you and I and Planet Earth. “Dark matter’ has been in vogue for decades now, yet no one has a real clue what it is – if it is. Maybe it’s simulated.
Then there’s ‘dark energy’. If ordinary matter and ‘dark matter’ make up about a quarter of the mass/energy content of the Universe, ‘dark energy’ makes up the other 75%. And we haven’t the foggiest idea what ‘dark energy’ is. The apparent detection of ‘dark energy’ is over a decade old now. This concept has been introduced to explain why the expansion rate of our Universe is accelerating, contrary to all expectations (the expansion rate should be decelerating because of the Universe’s gravity). So ‘dark energy’ is apparently a kind of antigravity that’s stronger than ordinary gravity that nobody understands, not the least of which is that the expansion of space itself produces ever more ‘dark energy’, ‘dark energy’ being a property of space itself. More space means more ‘dark energy’. That’s like the concept of the ‘free lunch’ and since when can energy be created out of nothing? That’s a violation of the basic physics principle of the conservation of matter and energy. So, how weird is the concept of antigravity created out of nothing – just expanding space? Maybe ‘dark energy’ too is simulated.
Basically some 96% of the entire Universe consists of ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ and nobody has any idea what they are. They are at the present, just labels. The idea that this is all simulated makes about as much sense as anything any physicist has dreamed up to account of 96% of the cosmos. And of course if 96% is simulated, then no doubt 100% is – including you and I and Planet Earth.
The Simulation Hypothesis and SETI
SETI is the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence and there have been SETI searches that go back to the early 1960’s. SETI scans the heavens by searching for radio waves and/or optical signals that have an artificial nature about them. Some SETI searches are of an all-sky nature and some specifically target likely celestial sites, stars, even whole galaxies. The rationale behind SETI is that the Universe should contain a quite reasonable number of technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilisations that through accident or design send out into the Universe electromagnetic signals that give away their presence. SETI scientists are an optimistic bunch, always forecasting success within the next couple of years as more telescopes come on line and the sensitivity of the searches improves. Alas, to date nothing and SETI scientists aren’t shy about coming up with reasons! But, IMHO, if technologically advanced ET civilisations are out there something should have happened by now. Maybe technological ET civilisations are rare as hen’s teeth or maybe humans are the proverbial it. Or maybe, just maybe, our computer / software programmer(s) just totally forgot to include celestial extraterrestrials in the simulation.
Science librarian; retired.
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