Saturday, August 15, 2015

Let's harmonize Genesis with a fake universe

BioLogos has a stable of scientists to defend deistic evolution, viz. Denis Alexander, Louis Ard, Francisco Ayala, Stephen Barr, Sean Carroll, Francis Collins, Darrel Falk, Karl Giberson, Denis Lamoureux, Clarence Menninga, John Polkinghorne, Dennis Venema.

Likewise, it has a stable of Bible scholars to reinterpret the Bible, or simply nix the authority of Scripture, to accommodate the scientific establishment, viz. Peter Enns, Kirk Daniel, Charles Halton, Tremper Longman, Scott McKnight, Kenton Sparks, John Walton, N. T. Wright.

They consider it essential to the survival and credibility of the Christian faith for theology to adapt to mainstream science. 

But when they labor to harmonize Gen 1-9 or Rom 5 with the hard scientific evidence, with the "real world," what's the frame of reference? Consider the following?

I began bemused. The notion that humanity might be living in an artificial reality — a simulated universe — seemed sophomoric, at best science fiction.  
But speaking with scientists and philosophers on "Closer to Truth," I realized that the notion that everything humans see and know is a gigantic computer game of sorts, the creation of supersmart hackers existing somewhere else, is not a joke. 
I asked Marvin Minsky, a legendary founder of artificial intelligence, to distinguish among three kinds of simulations: (i) brains in vats, (ii) universal simulation as pure software and (iii) universal simulation as real physical stuff. 
"It would be very hard to distinguish among those," Minsky said, "unless the programmer has made some slips — if you notice that some laws of physics aren't quite right, if you find rounding-off errors, you might sense some of the grain of the computer showing through." 
If that were the case, he says, it would mean that the universe is easier to understand than scientists had imagined, and that they might even find ways to change it.  
The thought that this level of reality might not be ultimate reality can be unsettling, but not to Minsky: "Wouldn't it be nice to know that we are part of a larger reality?" [Incredible Technology: How Future Space Missions May Hunt for Alien Planets ] 
For a reality check, I visited Martin Rees, U.K. Astronomer Royal, a bold visionary and hard-nosed realist. "Well, it's a bit flaky, but a fascinating idea," he said. "The real question is what are the limits of computing powers." 
Astronomers are already doing simulations of parts of universes. "We can't do experiments on stars and galaxies," Rees explained, "but we can have a virtual universe in our computer, and calculate what happens if you crash galaxies together, evolve stars, etc. So, because we can simulate some cosmic features in a gross sense, we have to ask, 'As computers become vastly more powerful, what more could we simulate?' 
"It's not crazy to believe that some time in the far future," he said, "there could be computers which could simulate a fairly large fraction of a world."

What if they are harmonizing the Bible with a cosmic computer simulation? 

Consider, too, how this theory cuts the ground right out from under historical geology or evolutionary biology. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that genetics and paleontology do indeed point to the evolution of man from microbes. Ah, but that's virtual evidence. The Grand Canyon is Virtual Reality. The population bottleneck is Virtual Reality. And so on and so forth. 

They scoff at mature creation, yet entertain a cosmic computer simulation as a realistic possibility. It's incredible that God would make the world "mature," but a serious scientific conjecture that an advanced alien civilization might simulate earth. 

I don't think it's true. I'm just responding to them on their own ground. 


  1. Whatever you think about evolution the whole "simulation hypothesis" if true does present a fascinating argument for God's existence since it would require a simulator.

  2. "The notion that humanity might be living in an artificial reality" is perfectly Biblical. In fact, it's one of the reasons why faith in Christ is so important: because otherwise, a person will live and die as a victim of "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world."