Given Eternity, There Must be a God

Like most posts in most blogs, this one presents material that has doubtless been hashed over interminably by others.  Like most bloggers, however, I lack time, access, and knowledge to find and understand the people who may have argued for and against the various things I suggest, and until someone directs me to such sources, I am constrained to present my own variously informed thoughts as though they were new.

In that spirit, I was thinking about the Simulation Argument, by which computing power continues to grow exponentially into the future, until some generation is capable of creating simulations so real that the people in them think they are real, and that we are exactly that – simulations operating within some future computer program.  I guess that’s possible.  But since there are apparently billions of potentially habitable planets right within our own galaxy, it seems there must be some chance that some other civilization has beat us there.  Perhaps the simulation of a future Earth generation, by which we hypothetically exist inside that computer program, would itself be part of a larger simulation being run elsewhere.

The evolution argument, as I understand it, is that we have had such a godawful long time on Earth as to permit all sorts of strange things to happen.  Writ large, this would suggest that, somewhere out there – before, during, or after the Big Bang (acknowledging the apparent oxymoron in speaking of a “before” if time did not then exist) – someone has evolved to the point of being able to travel faster than the speed of light, leap tall buildings in a single bound, or otherwise do crazy stuff that we might consider godlike.

The real point is that, once they get there, they win all the marbles:  they get to screw with the universe (or with what we think of as the universe, here within our trivial lives or simulations or whatever) so as to make it function as they wish.  Making it safe for simulations, and so forth.  And from that point, everything that comes along is more or less permitted or excluded according to their needs and desires, sort of like the way we exploit, neglect, or extincticate various species as seems comfortable and manageable to us.  If those advanced beings could evolve to the point of tinkering with time, then they wouldn’t even have to beat us to it:  they could play with and/or simulate past reality, with or without computers per se.

When I was a kid, I wondered whether God might be inventing new subatomic particles on an as-needed basis, just to keep one step ahead of the physicists.  I guess you could hypothesize that we are allowed to discover the particles just as soon as the gods get around to inventing them, like maybe it takes a whole weekend’s work for them to develop and test the infrastructure that this Universe simulation will need in order to support that additional level of complexity.  Like maybe quantum mechanics is a quandary for us because they haven’t yet had the meetings and worked out the agreements necessary to resolve apparent contradictions in what they’ve given us so far.

There could be just one such being, but evolution would suggest there are bunches of them, with their own past Neanderthals and other variations.  The primary point is just that, if we are natural products of an incredibly long developmental process, then it would be unrealistic to assume that we are the first or greatest.  With so many billions of places to happen (including planets that were formely habitable but are no longer so, as of the time of our observation), it seems possible that gods would have evolved somewhere else first.  Or possibly even right here.  They could be in the rocks; they could be the rocks themselves; they could be among us, and we would not know.

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