Skip to comments.God Is the Machine
Posted on 11/21/2002 8:14:40 PM PST by FreetheSouth!
God Is the Machine
IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS 0. AND THEN THERE WAS 1. A MIND-BENDING MEDITATION ON THE TRANSCENDENT POWER OF DIGITAL COMPUTATION
At today's rates of compression, you could download the entire 3 billion digits of your DNA onto about four CDs. That 3-gigabyte genome sequence represents the prime coding information of a human body your life as numbers. Biology, that pulsating mass of plant and animal flesh, is conceived by science today as an information process. As computers keep shrinking, we can imagine our complex bodies being numerically condensed to the size of two tiny cells. These micro-memory devices are called the egg and sperm. They are packed with information.
That life might be information, as biologists propose, is far more intuitive than the corresponding idea that hard matter is information as well. When we bang a knee against a table leg, it sure doesn't feel like we knocked into information. But that's the idea many physicists are formulating.
The spooky nature of material things is not new. Once science examined matter below the level of fleeting quarks and muons, it knew the world was incorporeal. What could be less substantial than a realm built out of waves of quantum probabilities? And what could be weirder? Digital physics is both. It suggests that those strange and insubstantial quantum wavicles, along with everything else in the universe, are themselves made of nothing but 1s and 0s. The physical world itself is digital.
The scientist John Archibald Wheeler (coiner of the term "black hole") was onto this in the '80s. He claimed that, fundamentally, atoms are made up of of bits of information. As he put it in a 1989 lecture, "Its are from bits." He elaborated: "Every it every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely from binary choices, bits. What we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes/no questions."
To get a sense of the challenge of describing physics as a software program, picture three atoms: two hydrogen and one oxygen. Put on the magic glasses of digital physics and watch as the three atoms bind together to form a water molecule. As they merge, each seems to be calculating the optimal angle and distance at which to attach itself to the others. The oxygen atom uses yes/no decisions to evaluate all possible courses toward the hydrogen atom, then usually selects the optimal 104.45 degrees by moving toward the other hydrogen at that very angle. Every chemical bond is thus calculated.
If this sounds like a simulation of physics, then you understand perfectly, because in a world made up of bits, physics is exactly the same as a simulation of physics. There's no difference in kind, just in degree of exactness. In the movie The Matrix, simulations are so good you can't tell if you're in one. In a universe run on bits, everything is a simulation.
An ultimate simulation needs an ultimate computer, and the new science of digitalism says that the universe itself is the ultimate computer actually the only computer. Further, it says, all the computation of the human world, especially our puny little PCs, merely piggybacks on cycles of the great computer. Weaving together the esoteric teachings of quantum physics with the latest theories in computer science, pioneering digital thinkers are outlining a way of understanding all of physics as a form of computation.
From this perspective, computation seems almost a theological process. It takes as its fodder the primeval choice between yes or no, the fundamental state of 1 or 0. After stripping away all externalities, all material embellishments, what remains is the purest state of existence: here/not here. Am/not am. In the Old Testament, when Moses asks the Creator, "Who are you?" the being says, in effect, "Am." One bit. One almighty bit. Yes. One. Exist. It is the simplest statement possible.
(Excerpt) Read more at wired.com ...
Bucky did some research on microscopic bubbles and found out that the circumference of a microscopic bubble is actually a series of straight lines.
Sorta sounds like digital pretending to be analog. ;>)
Sorry, it's like trying to compress a .jpg. You are stored at the optimum compression. Further compression results in a larger file size. ;>)
Oh, now I get it.
He already knows about the errors (original sin), pre-planned for it, and has coded the resolution (man chooses God over sin; God saves man).
Just remember, God is not linear. He has no beginning, and no end. He exists outside our time dimension. Only he can fix the program.
According to my recollection of the story, at the point where the universe/computer figures out how to reverse entropy, it proclaims the answer to the "final question" in this manner: "Let there be light!"
>Sorry, it's like trying to compress a .jpg. You are stored at the optimum
>compression. Further compression results in a larger file size. ;>)
I've tried to reduce myself on a number of occasions, but I keep encountering a loss of resolution.
Perhaps, there is no problem with resolution: maybe the prescription for your glasses ran out?
(I am paraphrasing S. Wright).
Rather like the old attempts to solve for Pi. Given that bubbles are made of atoms and molecules, any attempt to define it would have to appear as a series of lines connecting the probability centers of the atoms and molecules. That, however, doesn't prove the point in the article. The article assumes that 1) there are minimum increments to everything, and 2) that a point where you can get an agreement between digital models and analogish symbolism is the proper place to stop enlarging. The latter seems much like an argument Dr. Sowell makes in pointing out statistical analysis flaws.