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God isn't dead. God is just away from his keyboard.
Every intelligent society eventually runs simulations and experiments to explain its own creation, creating new intelligent societies in the process.
Originally written for thisisby.us
Nov. 06, 2007 at 03:28pm

Yes, it's yet another post about somebody's lifelong journey on religous matters - in my case from atheism to something similar to deism. I see no particular value to me or society in general if you are converted to my views, but nonetheless I'll do my best to present my case.

I was raised an atheist - which isn't to say my parents constantly asserted that there was no god, it's just that they didn't follow any religion and the issue of the existence of God or gods simply never came up. Well, they never brought it up anyway, but people outside my family did. There were certain people who constantly wanted to convert me. Looking back on it now, they probably thought they were trying to save my soul, which is well-intentioned, but at the time, I just thought they were annoying.

When put into a situation of in-your-face Christianity, I did my best to disprove their assertions. It only solidified my belief in atheism. I had never considered that possibility that just because I didn't believe in any of the world religions, there could still be a God or gods not described in any of those religions.

Fast forward many years to college. I stumbled on some websites describing Conway's Game of Life. It is a computer simulation that had just a few basic rules. Despite their simplicity, incredibly complex patterns could result. For a long time, people searched for ever more complex patterns that could be created from the simulation. Eventually, someone was able to build a working Turing machine using the simulation - this meant that just by following the simple rules of the game, a simulation could do all the computation any other computer could do.

That got me thinking. Was it possible to find a pattern that was self-replicating? Would it be considered an organism? What if it was both self-replicating and could change slightly from generation to generation? You would then see evolution taking place inside a computer simulation.

The clincher for me was when I saw one of the websites mention a book called The Recursive Universe. While I never ended up reading the book, seeing the title gave me an epitome of sorts. The computer simulation inside a Game of Life was basically a universe. It was already proven that this simulation could do anything another computer could do, which means it could also run another computer simulation inside of it. As a result, you could have our universe, running a Conway's Game of Life universe, inside which it could simulate another universe, inside which could be another, on and on.

If simulations of universes were possible, then there could be untold numbers of simulated universes in existence. In all probability then, any given universe was one that was created inside another universe. Who are we to say we're the "top-level" universe, and not merely one of many universes created inside simulations, perhaps many levels down.

Later, I found a website describing The Simulation Argument, which has a very similar theme.

So what did this belief get me? Well, not much. In all probability, the universe we live in is too large for our tiny planet to get noticed by the Creator(s), which leads me to deism - the belief that God probably doesn't interfere in our daily lives, not because "He" wants us to exercise our free will, but because we're too insignificant.

This belief certainly didn't buy me any new moral codes to follow, which seems to be the more important parts of the world's religions. If you want some of that, I'd encourage you to read my political posts instead. I'd rather have you agreeing with my political views anyway - since that is more important to me.

The claptrap I've written in this post can be simply ignored =]


Comment from thisisby.us by dominic aquilino
on Nov. 06, 2007 at 03:44pm
3 Votes

When I, as an imperfect human, see that perfect sunrise in the early morning hours, I can only send my thanks to an energy or being that is so tremendous and creative to conjure such an image for my pleasure.