I was in junior high, I started writing a story called "Virtual
Image", (which can be found here) where a computer scientist had created a huge virtual environment
and people would connect to this environment via a brain signal interceptor. This device basically interprets brain signals and makes the
person's 'virtual image' do the action instead of physically doing the action.
Instead of physically walking, for example, the brain signal interceptor
would intercept the bodyís signals to walk and cause the person to walk in the
course, when the movie 'The Matrix' came out (and the book 'Permutation City'
before the Matrix), my story was no longer an original idea.
The only difference between The Matrix and my story was that the virtual
world in my story was based on a fantasy world like something that you'd likely
read in a Lord of the Rings book whereas the virtual world in the Matrix was
based on the real world in the 1990's.
when I wrote the story in Junior High (about 13 years ago or so), I started
pondering whether or not we ourselves were living in a virtual world. It made sense to me- we could all be living in an elaborate
simulation (run by God). That would
explain a lot of philosophical and religious questions. I talked about this with a few people a long while ago, but I
mostly got some strange looks (including a very young Jessica Abbott).
it turns out that I'm not the only one who had pondered this.
In fact, a collection of papers have been assembled at this website: http://www.simulation-argument.com/
paper in specific is entitled "Are You Living In a Computer
Simulation?" written by Dr. Nick Bostrom, who has his PhD in philosophy.
paper doesn't specifically deal with God except to suggest that "posthumans"
would be the running the simulation, purportedly with the intent to study their
ancestors (although we obviously wouldn't have a clue as to why they would be
running the simulation without their direct interaction).
A posthuman is a super-evolved human who would supposedly have enormous
computing power to run the simulation. While
I don't entirely agree with his arguments, the paper in general is rather
of his major points is as follows:
"If we donít think that we are currently living in a computer simulation, we are not entitled to believe that we will have descendants who will run lots of such simulations of their forebears."
disagree with that statement, mainly because it's an infinite recursive loop.
(There would have to be simulations within simulations within
simulations, and there would be no beginning.
Suppose there is a beginning- Iíd hate to see a segfault in the
top-level simulation!) We might not
currently be living in a computer simulation, but we might evolve to the point
where we can run our own computer-simulated world with conscience beings.
But pushing all of that aside, it is something to ponder in your deep philosophical and religious discussions about the origins of life and the nature of this universe.