qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Science demonstrates probable existence of God

... if you want to read it that way. Tonight's Horizon was a tour of the theory of time travel. Though various esoteric solutions to Einstein's equations have been found, they all have their downsides (for the most part, either precluding the possibility of returning even approximately to the time of your departure, or requiring the energy output of half the galaxy). So, with some lateral thinking and Moore's law, they consider the possibility that virtual-reality will be used to simulate time travel to the past, and that the processors will become so powerful that the simulation will seem ever more real. Carried to conclusions, the overwhelming probability is that we don't actually exist, we are just computer simulations by someone else (who as our creator we might as well call God) of the past as they know it.

Now the other interesting thing a few months ago was Brian Greene's Channel 4 series Theory of Everything, which dealt with string theory and the possibility of an 11-dimensional 'multiverse', of which our 'universe' is a (more or less) 3-dimensional section. In principle (again I presume requiring a somewhat implausible amount of energy) we could create other universes by creating other sections through the multiverse. So once again the universe can have a Creator, and we might be nothing more than the cast-off of someone else's laboratory experiment.

This second theory doesn't disturb me at all, as in this scenario the Creator has no influence over the universe s/he created after an infinitesimal time (the newly created universe is unreachable from the original). But if you, dear reader, were the programmer of the virtual-reality simulation in which I exist, that would be rather like the notion of God. Presumably You would grant my wishes if I obeyed and prayed to You, and You would punish me if I behaved in ways that displeased You. Though I also imagine You would have more important things to do than read my LJ.

The good news about this theory, as I see it, is this: while Moore's Law makes processor power exponentially greater, people are talking about physical limits to it (though that may not happen for a few decades), and it has not produced more reliable software. So it seems to me that any simulation would break from time to time, and we would notice it. At least, I'll stick to that hope for now.

Perhaps I should read up on this a bit more, but I am puzzled why no-one ever looks at the Feynmann diagram approach to time travel in these programmes. Feynmann diagrams are used to depict interactions between elementary particles in quantum mechanics, though in principle one could construct a diagram for more macroscopic scenarios (it would just be an implausibly big one). Now, an electron moving from A to B in the diagram, is indistinguishable from a positron moving from B to A backwards in time. The only problem here is mass, because (so far as we know) there is no such thing as anti-mass. But if the universe truly is elegant, that apparent imbalance is surely just because we haven't yet discovered its counterpart.
Tags: science, tv
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