To be a byte or not a byte, that is the question.

Linux Boot ScreenI just finished the article, Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch, by John Tierney of the NY Times. He interviewed Nick Bostrom, an Oxford philosopher, who wrote Are You Living in a Computer Simulation. Bostrom contends that we are actually living in a simulation. Think the Matrix but there are no physical bodies for us. We are just programs in some giant computer. He is quoted as saying, “My gut feeling, and it’s nothing more than that is that there’s a 20 percent change we’re living in a computer simulation.”

Tierney thinks that percentage is higher. As Tierney went on to point out, this theory would help explain all the evil in the world. Some kid is mucking things up. I know when I played SimCity, I would become bored with building my city so I would send tornadoes and Godzilla attacks just to see what would happen.

The concept of morality was also discussed. If this life is just a simulation, is there a need for morality? David Chalmers, another philosopher proposes that even if this is a simulation we should still attempt to get into the good graces of the “Prime Designer.” Tierney used this name to refer to the person or thing running the simulation. Robin Hanson believes that the more interesting we are to the Prime Designer the more likely we’ll get to stick around for the next round of Space Invaders.

I come away from this article with two observations. People want to put their faith in something. They don’t want to put their faith in God so they dream up the idea of a computer running the show. The second observation is that God has set eternity in the hearts of man. Whether they want to admit it or not, each person knows that this world is not all there is. It’s sad, some people would prefer to believe they are a simulation and when the computer is turned off they simply disappear. Whereas, I believe that when I leave this life I’m headed for a place prepared for me where there is no evil, no pain and no tears.