My wrist is still in pain, so I will have a brief post today and then wait until I review Ancient Aliens on Friday to write again so that I can give it some time to heal. (I will have a special brief post Friday morning, so stay tuned.) Today, I’d like to talk a bit about some weird speculation that occurred at the Cucalorus Connect festival at the University of North Carolina Wilmington this past weekend. At the festival, two professors entertained the possibility that we are living inside a computer simulation. So far, so boring. But when it came time for computer science professor Curry Guinn to provide some evidence for the speculation, he first reached for an argument from authority—Elon Musk believes it!—and then turned to the paranormal, according to WRAL.
“[Julian] Keith talked about the science of the mind,[”] Curry said. “I’m going to be a bit more speculative. We may be actually living in a computer simulation. I’m not the only one who says this. Elon Musk of Telsa and Space X has said there is a billion to one chance we are living in a computer simulation.” […]
Regardless of how much credence you give the philosophical argument for a simulated reality, I have trouble with advocates turning to fake science to support it. Since there is no evidence for ghosts, no compelling proof of ESP, and no statistical evidence for an anomalous number of coincidences (whose meaning, incidentally, is subjective to the observer), the supernatural evidence for “glitches” in the simulation is non-existent, no more compelling than claiming that witchcraft, lycanthropy, and blood-drinking corpses—all onetime beliefs with exactly as much evidence in their favor—prove an occult layer beneath consensus reality. It is, however, part of a disturbing trend that New Age folk mythology is increasingly assumed true by dint of the generation that grew up exposed to midcentury pseudoscience aging into power and repeating faulty claims for each generation that followed. Today’s kids are the fourth generation (if you believe that numerological pseudoscience, invented only three decades ago) to grow up soaked in such claims since their revival in the 1960s, and they have now taken on the hallowed air of legitimacy for being older than their grandparents.
There must also be some deeper sociological meaning to the prevalence of alternate realities in today’s philosophy and entertainment. Since Fringe introduced its alternate worlds a decade ago, the theme has exploded across the media, and I can’t imagine that the popularity of simulated reality and multiverse quasi-scientific speculation is unrelated. How many TV shows, movies, comic books, etc. use this theme? It has been percolating in literature and the arts for a few decades (comics loved it to reset continuity, and Sliders made a fetish of it), but I can’t recall a time when there were so many multiverses and parallel worlds depicted in every form of media. A decade ago, fears of cultural decay and invasion manifested as an obsession with zombies, and now we have a desire to escape from what Community once called “the darkest timeline.” Ours isn’t really that dark—it’s not The Man in the High Castle’s Nazi world, for example—but there seems to be a fatalism in our culture that now believes a better world is beyond the reach and power of this one, to be found only by fleeing the accursed darkness rather lighting a candle.
I imagine that the joy people like Guinn seem to take in concluding that reality is fictitious is related to the almost Gnostic desire to see the world and its injustices as evil and false, and to believe that a better world waits for us.
Gnostic desire that world is evil & false
11/21/2019 08:37:54 am
Rhymes with original sin
11/21/2019 09:20:57 am
Or maybe it is a bored supernatural force that is laying a super brain rape on us by making us think that we are in a computer simulation and misinterpreting it as due to supernatural forces which it really is but we are being played into thinking that it isn't. At least that is my take on things after my third Café Royale of the morning.
11/21/2019 09:36:50 am
When the reality is that planet and civilization alike are both on the fast track towards Soylent Green, it’s not hard to understand why theoretical concepts like parallel worlds, simulated realities, and resetting timelines have become so widespread within the last two decades.
11/21/2019 12:01:08 pm
Hold on there, Nancy. The planet's gonna be fine. WE are a blip in history. CIVILIZATION is a blip within a blip.
11/21/2019 02:06:47 pm
Thanks, Captain Obvious. I never said the planet WOULDN’T be fine. But right now it’s suck, and getting sicker.
11/21/2019 02:32:21 pm
Planets don't get sick, you great Jessie. Your definition of "sick" understandably is a very human-centric "not ideal for humans as I see it".
It Ain't Correct
11/21/2019 02:59:32 pm
Nations don't actually get sick either but sick man or sick old man or simply sick are commonly used to describe countries in significant economic or political decline. Using the concept of sick to describe the state of the planet is very common at every level of written discourse whether you agree with that assessment or not. Go try to play wordsmith elsewhere Poindexter.
11/21/2019 03:38:10 pm
That's just sick.
11/21/2019 03:46:50 pm
Sick just like my ride. Fully restored 1972 Pinto.
11/21/2019 05:04:06 pm
Interestingly enough the concept of "Sick Soil" is used in the published literature in Agricultural Science. Some sort of blah blah about soil that has been depleted to the point of not effectively producing crops. Don't know if it is supposed to be entirely driven by human activity or natural processes as well. Heard it from a drinking buddy who researches soil types in Central America. Didn't think it was a real thing other than maybe a form of folk taxonomy used by peasants and called BS until I checked it out on google scholar and saw it used in peer reviewed published research.
11/25/2019 09:34:09 pm
11/21/2019 10:48:32 am
"Regardless of how much credence you give the philosophical argument for a simulated reality..."
11/21/2019 12:30:40 pm
Where I first saw this was in John C. Lilly's writings about ECCO (Earth Coincidence Control Office) in Center of the Cyclone, 1972.
11/21/2019 01:28:46 pm
Gnosticism was the original version of Christianity before the stories became literalised.
11/21/2019 02:34:54 pm
People say "Gnosticism" like it's a monolithic thing, "Okay! Another pigeonhole filled!"
11/21/2019 02:42:30 pm
Gnosticism was monolithic as in anti-Judaism, that later developed into Christianity, which literalised its mythologies
11/21/2019 02:51:13 pm
People say "Gnosticism" like it's a monolithic thing, "Okay! Another pigeonhole filled!" Whatever helps you sleep at night, Pumpkin.
11/21/2019 02:55:31 pm
Gnosticism was as diverse as Judaism (the Dead Sea Scrolls)
11/22/2019 06:57:58 am
You haven't actually read a single gnostic text have you?
11/22/2019 08:39:00 pm
It seems to be pretty common to compare reality to contemporary technology - the universe was once compared to clocks, engines, and other kinds of precisely engineered machines. Now, it’s computer simulations.
11/23/2019 02:36:02 pm
And much earlier it was turtles and dirt. You make an excellent point.
11/24/2019 11:06:27 am
A C Great insightful comment on gnostic text. On a different note, what are your thoughts that the Shroud of Turin were really the
11/24/2019 05:34:49 pm
That story was comes straight out of THE SECOND MESSIAH by Lomas and Knight.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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