Is the universe real, an archetype, or just a figment of our imagination?
According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, he wouldn’t at all be shocked if we suddenly learned the universe is a computer simulation — something created for the sheer joy of some being or “smarter” life form, reports Business Insider. Tyson’s reasoning falls somewhere between creationism and intelligent design.
Arguments abound that somehow the Earth is flat, the world is a hologram and humans have been duped into believing they are organic beings with cognition. Just look at YouTube; streams of titles claim we are part of an artificial intelligence scheme, and our existence is part of an elaborate dream, so to speak.
Often, we leave it up to scientists and great thinkers to explain phenomena and solve the mysteries of life. Although the consensus among academia is that talk of a simulated universe is mere quackery, one among them thinks otherwise.
— NASAGA (@nasaga) April 22, 2016
Tyson recently joined other panelists at the 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate at the American Museum of Natural History. They opined about the universe, specifically on a growing belief that it is merely a construct and not a living organism.
Lisa Randall, a physicist on the panel, dismissed speculation from skeptics. She says the chances the universe is not real with physical manifestations are so small that they are “effectively zero.”
Proponents of her stance were undoubtedly relieved at the validation from the scholar. Randall echoed the beliefs of Descartes (“I think. Therefore I am”) and other mathematicians, philosophers, and scientists: the universe is genuine, not a mirage.
— Mike (@MikeTaylor2011) April 12, 2016
However, the noted astrophysicist begged to differ. He took more of an open-minded approach to the ongoing debate. Tyson says that the lack of empirical evidence to the contrary suggests that a simulated experience is not out of the question. In short, you could be dreaming as you’re reading this post. Extreme Tech explains.
“How do we know that reality is reality? And, if our universe were a big, elaborate lie, could we ever devise some test to prove that fact? At the debate, host and celebrity astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson argued that the probability is that we live in a computer simulation.”
Tyson reiterates how humans have evolved to be superior over lower species, even primates that are nearly genetically identical. Homo sapiens have emotions, reasoning, and analytical abilities. However, Tyson challenges the audience to consider the possibility that there is another being or intelligent race of people who are dictating our total experience.
“What would we look like to them? We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence.”
God and Zeus come to mind. Tyson raises the question of how the so-called simulator looks.
“And if that’s the case, it is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just the creation of some other entity for their entertainment. I’m saying, the day we learn that it is true, I will be the only one in the room saying, I’m not surprised.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson says he’s not convinced of a higher power because “the Earth is constantly trying to kill us.” He wonders why God, presuming he’s “good,” would allow such atrocities.
The conversation sounds like a debate between two dueling schools of thought: Darwinists and those who narrowly suggest the existence of a Christian deity. Any stance is tenuous at best, and to Tyson’s point, there are no certain theories or testable hypotheses that suggest otherwise.
The mystery of the universe remains. What side do you support?
[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]