Christian commentator Albert Mohler had a very interesting program last Friday on current stories from the world of science. One of the four stories he covered I found quite interesting:
“Agnostic scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson says its very probable the universe is a simulation”
What follow is some of Mohler’s commentary, interspersed with a few of my comments in brackets…
… the Business Insider recently ran a story about Neil deGrasse Tyson. The headline says this: that Tyson, one of the most influential science educators in the media, “thinks there is a very high chance the universe is just a simulation.”
[Question to ponder: Just how might this be similar or dissimilar from the Bible’s idea that we know ourselves to be created beings but suppress this true knowledge?]
What in the world does that mean? This means that one of most popular scientist, presented as possessing scientific authority in this culture, thinks that the entire cosmos as we experience it, coming right down to our lives as we experience them, might not be even real. They might just be a simulation run by some species of a higher intelligence. Now the first thing we need to note is that this kind of nonsense actually gains headlines. The second thing we need to note is that if someone who did not present himself or herself as a scientist made such a claim so outlandish, unprovable, then you would have people who would say this is some form of religious mysticism masquerading as a form of knowledge. But that’s exactly what we do need to say about Neil deGrasse Tyson. This is some form of spiritual mysticism masquerading as science. Kevin Loria, writing for Business Insider, seems to understand exactly what’s going on when he begins his article by saying,
“We trust the scientists around us to have the best grasp on how the world actually works.”
[Of course, this means that scientists know that the universe is basically a machine that they are trying to figure out, which means that it is only natural for them to be tempted to have thoughts like deGrasse Tyson’s. Of course it looks like a computer program, because it looks like a machine (see here for more).]
Thus he takes us to the 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate at the American Museum of Natural History, which addressed the question of whether or not the universe is a simulation. Neil deGrasse Tyson was one of the participants—he was actually hosting the debate—and he says the likelihood of the universe being a mere simulation—that is, just an experiment undertaken by some higher being—“may be very high.”
[You get that? Implications for the intelligent design debate?]
…..Now there’s another interesting aspect about this, because when you look at Neil deGrasse Tyson, you’re looking at someone who is granted a great deal of cultural authority in our society. He’s also someone who has repeatedly denied the possibility of the divine creation of the cosmos. Keep that in mind when you hear Neil deGrasse Tyson in this context, say that we should use,
“…a thought experiment to imagine a life form that’s as much smarter than us as we are than dogs, chimps, or other terrestrial mammals.”
He asked the question,
“What would we look like to them? We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence.
“Whatever that being is, it very well might be able to create a simulation of a universe.”
Then Tyson said these words exactly,
“And if that’s the case, it is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just the creation of some other entity for their entertainment. I’m saying, the day we learn that it is true, I will be the only one in the room saying, I’m not surprised.”
[Well, of course God hasn’t designed us for his entertainment, but He has created us. And we know it is true that we are creations. Which deGrasse Tyson seems to understand at some level as well, even as he is somehow able to pass off his beliefs as acceptable with the sophisticates of the scientific world]
So a man who denies the very possibility of the divine creation of the cosmos is here willing to entertain in public the idea that some higher species has merely created the entire cosmos as a simulation for that beings own entertainment.
[Yes, the irony is rich. All of this reminds me of the classic moment with Richard Dawkins in the Ben Steyn film, Expelled (see here and click on “Dawkins-alien moment”)]
God didn’t design the universe for our entertainment, but I am confident that he designed deGrasse Tyson and Dawkins for ours.
Image credit: “Director of the Hayden Planetarium Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks as host of the Apollo 40th anniversary celebration held at the National Air and Space Museum, Monday, July 20, 2009 in Washington.” by NASA/Bill Ingalls