Simulation theory is a new theism

This article titled ‘Is our world a simulation? Why some scientists say it’s more likely than not’ describes an intellectual movement, including Elon Musk, which holds that we live in a computer simulation.

I’ll leave to the side the arguments for such a position (including arguments about the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness), and focus on what the position is. They are positing that the universe was created by an intelligence (or intelligences). It’s a kind of theism (my impression is that many advocates seem unaware of this – it is irrelevant that the creator is a ‘posthuman civilization’ or what have you), and generates similar problems to ones Judaism or Christianity attempt to answer (do we get an insight into the creator’s mind or purposes in seeing the universe? how does the creator effect the universe? can we interact with the creator? is the creator something like omniscient in this universe? omnipotent? and so on).

It is not surprising that a powerful aspect of technology (computer simulations) would be applied to create a new form of theism. It is similar to the historical movement to think of the universe as a precisely tuned machine (such as a clock), when machines like that became common several hundred years ago (often, this form of theism emphasized something like a form of deism – the machine maker set up the universe and then let it work away).

So, developments in technology cause developments in theology.

2 thoughts on “Simulation theory is a new theism

  1. Andrew S.

    Even though I guess it’s reasonable, I’d be personally surprised if the proponents of the simulation argument weren’t aware of the theistic implications of this…but then again, that’s because I first heard about the simulation argument because of its application to the transhumanist “New God Argument” (which explicitly makes the case that our posthuman civilization creators are God)

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  2. admin Post author

    I first heard of it seriously being advocated by Elon Musk and Scott Adams. I doubt either would consider himself a theist, but perhaps I’m wrong. But yes, I’m sure some advocates do think of simulation theory as a kind of theism.

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