Thursday, February 24, 2011

The holographic universe


There are secularist thinkers who argue, in all seriousness, that our universe may be a simulation or holographic projection. To take a few examples:





This is ironic. For that position is even further along the antirealist continuum than omphalism.  Indeed, it’s fully equivalent to Last Thursdayism, which is routinely used to satirize young-earth creationism.

Whether or not they believe it, secularists treat simulated reality as an intellectually respectable hypothesis. By contrast, young-earth creationism is reviled as intellectual rubbish.

But how is young-earth creationism more counterintuitive than a cosmic simulation or hologram? Indeed, isn’t young-earth creationism less radical than these secular alternatives?

I’m not using that as an argument for creationism–just observing how a secularist will allow himself a degree of leeway he’d never grant the Christian. 

7 comments:

  1. "But how is young-earth creationism more counterintuitive than a cosmic simulation or hologram? Indeed, isn’t young-earth creationism less radical than these secular alternatives?"

    If it were the case that both views are simply postulated and judged according to their intrinsic plausibility this objection would have some force. But physicists generally postulate holographic universes in an effort to unify our best empirically confirmed theories, quantum mechanics and general relativity. Science admits outlandish hypotheses, but only when required to do so by the conceptual demands of science.

    Also, the hologram is at most an analogy for the physics here.

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  2. When the hypotheses become outlandish, perhaps it is time to review the conceptual demands of science and admit that they might not be all that they are cracked up to be.

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  3. "We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."


    Richard Lewontin, Billions and billions of demons (review of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, 1997), The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997.

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  4. "There are secularist thinkers who argue, in all seriousness, that our universe may be a simulation or holographic projection."

    Maybe these same secularist thinkers will, in all seriousness, posit that all those who saw the resurrected Jesus were viewing a holographic simulation or a simulated projection of the pre-resurrected Jesus.

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  5. Reminds me of reading a new work on the multi-verse universe and chuckling at the evangelical fervour of the authors in arguing how this must be TRUE!

    word verification -- selly

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  6. "The secularist thinkers who postulate " are playing with hypotheses, to see which are possible, then which are plausible, then which are worth investigating further. Thousands of these hypotheses are generated, and fall by the wayside.

    The creationist is levering the same leeway against proven, documented observations of a historical nature that directly refute their hypothesis.

    Science rejects hypotheses which are unproven. Religion does not.

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  7. Fred Trellis said:

    The creationist is levering the same leeway against proven, documented observations of a historical nature that directly refute their hypothesis.

    This is just an assertion in lieu of an argument.

    Science rejects hypotheses which are unproven. Religion does not.

    Another blanket assertion desperately searching for an argument. Perhaps it's worthy of a Dawkinsian quip. But in a serious intellectual exchange of ideas, it's akin to a mere sound bite at best. A momentary zinger which quickly fizzles away.

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