God is an issue whenever a discussion of the creation of the universe arises. It is part of digital philosophy and modern man’s worldviews. Science and theology are joining hands these days in surprising ways. Spirituality and philosophy are by no means incompatible and physics and metaphysics are clearly part of the full picture.
The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution by Alex M. Vikoulov is a must read for advanced thinkers. Those who like a good battle of ideologies will find it full of ideas and propositions. God’s place in a multi-layered digital reality finds a place in today’s cosmology. Vikoulov is clear on the subject. First and foremost, digital physics maintains that the universe is replete with information. Energy, matter and spacetime are integral to it. Observers can study these manifestations, even with a simulation.
In fact, the physical world is a simulation and fully digital. The universe runs on the qubits of quantum mechanics. The digital bits are, of course, virtual. This is as real as it gets for Vikoulov.
Furthermore, the simulation of physics and its “real” counterpart are one in the same. (Information = reality).
“Fields, particles, strings, energy, space-time continuum itself is all but information at the most fundamental level, consciousness — meta-algorithmic information processing, or sequential collapse of a probabilistic wave function via the act of conscious observation into a meaningful data stream — is the essence of existence itself.”
In sum, quantum realm continually resolves into digital, or discrete increments, or precise “yes/no states” when measured. He informs us that all organisms are “adaptive algorithms” and he does so in an impressive way. “Genes, memes, big data are examples of transmittable information in biology, society and economics. In physics, information refers to what is contained within a physical system.”
Vikoulov is comfortable addressing the ever-elusive meaning of life. For him, it is to evolve and pass on the “acquired complexity, knowledge (i.e. information) to descendants. Everything in nature computes.” We see great complexity in the natural world and the “computability of nature, which is fully describable by mathematics. “All possible universes, the Multiverse landscape, may be executable by a short computer program.” In his book, he indicates the following:
- Axioms of Pancomputationalism: (1) computation can describe everything; (2) all things can compute; (3) all computation is one.
- The input of computation is information; the output is order, structure, extropy, mind.
- Universality of computation is the optimal way for our Universe (and multiverse) to self-organize and generate patterns of increasing complexity.
- Evolution is a fundamental process in the Universe and the endgame of evolution is the Omega Singularity, or God.
The Battle of Ideologies: atheism vs. intelligent design
This is tricky territory! You can listen to atheists – or not. Their system of belief does not include God or the Soul. They have to build a kind of non-religion around their denial. They don’t need a shred of scientific proof because there isn’t any. The proof is a lack of proof.
Oddly enough, the same group expands evidence from the other side. A bit hypocritical perhaps!
An offshoot of atheism is “scientism” or the over preoccupation with the scientific method. Adherents of this view take empirical science at face value as the final authority. It is not unlike the vast majority of the scientific community who pray at the altar of “scientific materialism.” Some call it “physicalism”.
Whatever is going in their minds, classical materialism is getting a makeover. It now wears the mask of non-deterministic quantum mechanics. Gone is the supremacy of Newtonian mechanics. Progressive thinkers have their say on the subject, calling dogmatic scientism a kind of scientific inquisition. How apt an analogy is this! They deny the rules of the old “establishment” that are archaic at best.
At the forefront of modern inquiry in religion and the sciences is consciousness as an object of examination. One can take a materialistic stance although some would call this prejudicial. After all, many neuroscientists see consciousness as a physical world byproduct. It can be dissected by classical physics. A case in point is a confluence of internationally-acclaimed scientists from various fields who met in 2014. Representatives from biology, neuroscience, psychology, medicine, psychiatry participated in an international summit in Tucson, Arizona.
The purpose was to discuss post-materialist science, spirituality and society. The ringleaders were Gary E. Schwartz and Mario Beauregard of the University of Arizona, and Lisa Miller, from Columbia University. In their “Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science“ a radical, post-materialistic paradigm was proposed as follows: “Mind represents an aspect of reality as primordial as the physical world. Mind is fundamental in the Universe; i.e., it cannot be derived from matter and reduced to anything more basic.”
Many have tread these boards, like Peter Russel, a philosopher who coined “The Primacy of Consciousness” and the cognitive scientist, Donald Hoffman, who prefers “Conscious Realism.” An alternative is Vikoulov’s “Experiential Realism.” Consciousness is the fundamental, irreducible ground of existence for philosophers. It is alternatively “the sole ontological primitive”.
Labeling is fine, but does it help one’s understanding? As for the atheists, they are busy fussing with their new religion and hacking away at the apron strings of evolution. They love engaging in the Evolution versus Creationism debate.
All the while, new evidence is mounting up that we are living in a computer-created universe, one in which God and evolution have a role. In fact, they are inseparable in this regard. For some, God is the ultimate computer. Alternatively, He is Universal Consciousness or the Source responsible for experiential space via our individuated evolving minds.
Along with the incoming tide of atheism, one can say that religion rests on blind faith. Oddly enough, atheism relies on a certain kind of evidence. Haulianlal Guite has written about it in “Confessions of a Dying Mind: The Blind Faith of Atheism”. The book is laden with good arguments from philosophy, physics, and biology. The upshot is that “atheism has nothing to do with science”. Kant, Duhem-Quine, and Karl Popper are asked to help convince readers. What can be more instructive than Kant’s Copernican Revolution. So no sharp distinction can be drawn between science and religion, an idea that is sure to irk many. The issue of God is so emotionally charged as to blind one to evidence, if given. There are those who will deny any scientific proof for or against, deeming it irrelevant.
We know that many things existed long before they were discovered, like electricity. Then there are those mysterious black holes that no doubt have been there since the Big Bang. We used to see them as mathematical abstractions until a paradigm shift changed our thinking. We call it Cybernetic Singularity. It has laid waste to materialism, atheism and scientism. In their place, computational idealism with its code-theoretic worldview has prevailed.
Heed the words of Stephen Wolfram, author of “A New Kind of Science”:
“When the book came out, there was some fascinating sociology around it. People in fields where change was ‘in the air’ seemed generally very positive, but a number of people in fields that were then more static seemed to view it as a threatening paradigm shift. Fifteen years later that shift is well on its way, and the objections originally raised are beginning to seem bizarre.”
More and more scientists have an inner conflict in believing in God and accepting evolution in its contemporary form, but it need not be a conflict of interest to accept God and science as co-dependent. According to Bernard Carr, a cosmologist, “If you don’t want God, you’d better have a multiverse”.
Now we must question our choices and perhaps consider some new ones, like the Anthropic Principle. We all eventually find our own version of God and adopt a particular kind of spirituality to express our relationship to Him. You don’t need to suffocate in denial if you support scientific inquiry. It is apropos to quote Jalaluddin Rumi: “I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God.”*
It is often said that man needs some degree of spirituality to find meaning in life and the universe. It doesn’t consist in blind adherence to some religious doctrine. Rather, it is about finding your own path to “enlightenment” and it could be through introspection and personal growth. Organized religion is on the want but it once served us well as a “morality technology”. We still like to quote the Bible and use stories allegorically. They will never become too worn out to be meaningful.
Quantum Leap of Faith: from the holographic principle to the holofractal principle
We have learned a lot about the universe over the last century. We have come to get a better glimpse of life and nature as well. Western scientists have offered up their own explanation of a “unified self-organizing process”. We expect considerable evidence in the form of facts, but we can no longer rely on the traditional proof for things like gravity and dark matter. Think of string theory and the idea of a parallel universe, can we expect hard evidence? It comes in a different form and is no less valuable.
Physics isn’t a closed system and new “evidence” is becoming accepted beyond the old scientific method. Things are getting more and more rational and philosophical. A new direction is making headway in the sciences. Many welcome the new marriage of science and metaphysics. Science has often been accused of “pseudo-knowledge” pretending everything it detects is hard evidence. As mentioned, the paradigm shift has changed its tune and the field has adopted a significant degree of humility.
Science can no longer be dogmatic and act like an inverse religion. Illusions still reign but must be upgraded. For Vikoulov, “Replacing one illusion with another one is only upgrading the illusion, it’s still an illusion”.
Certain fields of sciences come to the fore. Take Sir James Jeans and Sir Arthur Eddington, both astrophysicists. Both insisted that there is more to reality than the physical universe and more to consciousness than brain activity alone. Eddington wrote a book in 1929, called, “Science and the Unseen World”. Early on he engaged in speculation about spirituality, maintaining that “consciousness is not wholly, nor even primarily a device for receiving sense impressions.”
As for Jeans, he hypothesized about the existence of a universal mind and a non-mechanical reality in his “The Mysterious Universe” of 1932. Note his words: “the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine”.
The idea of a digital reality started to gain traction. The laws of such a reality are master algorithms in our computational universe according to Nick Bostrom, an Oxford professor who published a key landmark article in 2003 in Philosophical Quarterly: “Are you living in a computer simulation?” It turned many heads and got many hearts beating faster. Imagine the universe as the hobby of some computer whiz. It is not impossible to imagine and in fact might be a mathematical certainty. For Bostrom, we may well live in someone else’s computer simulation.
Brian Whitworth wrote a paper in 2008 entitled “The Physical World as a Virtual Reality”. In the text, this professor at Massey University in New Zealand explores the possibility that our universe is a virtual reality created by information processing. This virtual reality notion is familiar from the many new online worlds, but our own world “could be an information simulation running on a multi-dimensional space-time screen”.
Whitworth’s job was to compare the findings of modern physics regarding the physical world and relate them to digital physics. He succeeded in describing reality in a new way. Physics can only go so far in describing the behavior of things in the universe. Information behaves in its own manner. It is an open question for empirical evaluation at this juncture.
We have another expert to consider, the renowned astrophysicist Rich Terrile. In 2017, he wrote an article for The Guardian:
“Quite frankly, if we are not living in a simulation, it is an extraordinarily unlikely circumstance. Recognizing we live in a simulation is game-changing, like Copernicus realizing Earth was not the center of the Universe. If in the future there are more digital people living in simulated environments than there are today, then what is to say we are not part of that already?”
The Digital Age has now been upon us for some time. We have yet to definitively refute the idea of artificially intelligent consciousness. We are “Mind Children” with a unique moral bent and a tendency to ethical behavior. We have a “techo-faith” in this era of Cybernetic Singularity.
In 1999, Ray Kurzweil published “The Age of Spiritual Machines,” in which he attempted to define spiritual experience as “a feeling of transcending one’s everyday physical and mortal bounds to sense a deeper reality.” He also states that “just being — experiencing, being conscious — is spiritual, and reflects the essence of spirituality.”
For Kurzweil, future computers will “claim to be conscious, and thus to be spiritual”. He concludes that “twenty-first-century machines will go to church, meditate, and pray to connect with this spirituality. Our job is now to invent a new word for AGIs at the human-level. But he notes that conscious robots, androids or machines sound just too mechanistic.”
Intelligence and consciousness are likely to stay together as partners, even though the latter is of a higher order in a living organism. Mankind can handle the merger of their minds with technology as we are halfway there. It doesn’t matter that everything is becoming too existentially complex with the idea of a virtual model of our physical reality. Information processing is the culprit behind the screen.
What if, on the other hand, intelligence was found to be an integrated system of algorithms, neural codes, pattern recognizers. This indicates an increasing complexity that might lead to reflective consciousness and the self-awareness of an embodied mind. It all takes place in a computation universe, for lack of a better term.
The universe can be called a fractal multiversal structure. This means that humans are co-creators of a simulated world, one made of an ultimate code. Nature has its own algorithmic language based on binary code and fractal geometry. Its purpose is to become transcribed into subjective data streams, also known as observer-dependent perceptual realities.
The implication here is that mankind are fractals of the larger universal mind. This “mind” is then a fractal of a larger omniversal mind, and so on. It is all about evolutionary emergence, or what Vikoulov calls a “return to Eden.” It is our primary purpose while the Omega Point comes at the end of the evolutionary process, also called the hyperdimensional Omega Singularity.
The Omega Singularity: projecting digital realities from within God’s mind
Can we ask, Is reality made of information or simply described by information? Once again modern physics takes the helm. John A. Wheeler was the first to posit that nature is digital. More followed such as Edward Fredkin, Stephan Wolfram, Gerard t Hooft, Jergen Schmidhuber, Seth Lloyd, David Deutsch, Paola Zizzi, Carl Friedrich von Weizscker, Leonard Susskind, Klee Irwin, Paul Davies and Max Tegmark. It is an impressive array.
The issue at hand is whether it is too aggressive to theorize that reality is something other than “information”. Yes, in the view of many who beg to differ. That reality consists of “information” is more logical and consistent than the “digital ontology”. Take the definition of energy. It is considered to be information, we understand it by observing its behavior using the all-too-familiar formula of I= E= mc2.
It can be said that everything in the world is abstract code with rules supervising all information, principles about matter, energy, and spacetime. The code thus self-organizes and dictates the physical nature of information. The confusion of the definitions of simulation and virtual reality as well as Simulation Hypothesis muddies our ability to distinguish the real from that which is not real. What is virtual reality? It is confusing in that the term contains opposing words.
Now we can go on to “digital reality”. Is it observer dependent like normal reality? After all, it is but a bunch of information-theoretic data streams – or equisensory to real. But at least it is not a contradiction in terms. Nonetheless, “digital reality” might be the accurate designation. The assumption is that through conscious observation (called a conscious agent by physicists) and eventual measurement, quantum indeterminacy constantly resolves into a digital reality. All other possibilities collapse, leaving mere discrete increments – “precise yes/no states”.
Next is Omega Singularity or the Omega Point. A theoretical physicist from Harvard endorses the concept, whatever it is named. Andrew Strominger claims it is a far future convergent point in the universe. In fact, it is its origin. He insists that “information is being projected as we would consider backwards in time.”
The Omega Point theory found further interest in Frank Tippler, a physics professor at Tulane University. As the author of “The Physics of Immortality“, he transformed the concept into a theory. The universe inevitably leads to ever greater complexity and connectivity. Its density is credited to God, the “final cosmological singularity”. Photons of light that we emit could be captured by some future superintelligence to “resurrect” each of us in a new simulated reality.
We can’t leave Albert Einstein out of the equation (pun intended). For this genius, the future and the past coexist in the Block Universe, a mathematical object. The history of physics is mind-boggling and leads to new work.
For example, scientists in Israel demonstrated that particles may be entangled over time and not just space. It was in 2012 that they uncovered things about quantum mechanics. They reveal that “the arrow of time can work in both directions”. This can be seen in Wheeler’s Delayed Choice experiment, also called a Quantum Eraser. It is about time symmetry: it implies temporal bi-directionality.
Some pretty rigorous evidence comes from Daryl Bem of Cornell University. He asserted that “retrocausality exists, where future events loop back in time to co-create past events”. This means that the past co-creates the future, but does the future co-creates the past. It is a kind of physics conundrum or mathematical feedback loop.
The universe appears to be able to self-organize exponentially. The energy of the universe becomes a single conscious system consisting of a network of more such systems. Everything is inevitable. In spacetime, consciousness on a universal scale occurred. According to retrocausality time loops, an inevitable future is co-creating us right now and we are co-creating it.
Technological Singularity is the updated version of the Omega Point (the final cosmological singularity), and both implications are the same. One day, the global network will “wake up” and a superhuman intelligence will emerge, called the Syntellect Emergence. There could be multiple such singularities, occurring sequentially. Their dimensional levels would be ever-higher, ending in the Omega Point.
What about human beings in all this? What is the nature of the sentient self and the way it thinks? People react to stimuli in their environment whether it be the weather or others. One becomes a “narrative” self. Thus there are two selves, the sentient and the narrative. You could view them in meta-algorithms.
Artificial intelligence comes into play with the role of mimicking humans as they interact with their world. We arrive at AGI, Artificial General Intelligence that differs from mankind’s phenomenal sensations. AGIs will share mental space with humans. Like children, they will learn by doing.
We are back to the theories of Andrew Strominger and left to ponder the Alpha Point to the Omega Point. Is it the other way around. He wonders if the the big Bang, aka the Alpha Point, form the alleged “Causal Diamond” of the conscious observer. He claims that the former has one bit of entropy compared to the Omega Point with its maximal entropy of 10^10^123 bits. In short, he suggests that man is part of a conscious universe. Within it, time is holographic. It is part of his theory of the origin of the universe which as a super intelligent future somewhere in infinity or the Omega Point. No more Big Bang as the basis of our understanding of creation.