I am infuriated by the fact that millions of very bright “secular” people continue to spend significant amounts of time brooding over the question of whether the reality we live in is the “original/natural” reality or some sort of computer simulation constructed in it or a pre-existing simulated reality.
There is absolutely no way of scientifically or rationally knowing whether we are or whether we are not living in a computer simulation. There never was. There never will be. This is an “is” that will forever remain scientifically invisible to us. No “rational” or “scientific” inquiry into the matter can be anything more than mysticism.
Scientific laws, whether known to exist or yet to be discovered that some reference to or plan to reference to prove that we are not living in a computer simulation could simply be scientific laws particular to a specific computer simulation- the inability to construct a comprehensive reality simulation could simply be something scripted into a simulation.
And just as we can’t just look at patterns in the universe and scientifically or rationally know that they’re all proof of the hand of some “natural” god, we cannot look at patterns in the universe and scientifically or rationally know that they are proof of the hand of some programmer.
For that matter, if we were indeed subjects in a computer simulation, we would be the moral equivalents of intelligent beings of our exact sort, wholly incapable of knowing whether they are or are not “real”, not living in a computer simulation. Our experience would be identical to theirs. Either way, we are genuinely sentient beings, not video game characters without consciousness and feelings. Either way, we genuinely hate and love. Either way, we commit acts of genuine good and evil. The absolute universal moral truths most of us believe to exist are, yes, absolute and universal- they apply in the “real” reality and all simulated realities that may exist. Whether we are made of actual flesh or are “inorganic” material not aware of its being “inorganic” material, or whether we are living in the “natural” reality or a computer reality is not something that matters at this point.
Am I saying that there is anything wrong with people having absolute positions of faith on this front that may or may not be backed up by intricate mystical thinking? No, so long as those who hold these positions acknowledge that these positions are religious “is” (as opposed to “ought”) positions that cannot be supported by science and rationality, and so long as these positions never reduce them to jaded emotional mush or shut them off from participation in political struggle.
Those who are wasting time on or, God forbid, losing sleep over this matter, just need to consider the points I laid out here and move on with their lives. We have real work to do. We must remember that distractions like this one are deliberately pushed to the fore- we must never forget that the forces of capital love anything that intellectually distracts or inspires lassitude in those they oppress and who, if they were inspired, confident, and fully conscious of their oppressors’ schemes, might meaningfully organize into a revolutionary democratic movement and stand a chance of removing them from power. Let us tackle the actual problem at hand and stop getting hung up on uselessly distracting things like the simulation question.