View Full Version : Top scientist asks: is life all just a dream?

10-31-2006, 12:18 PM
DEEP THOUGHT, the supercomputer created by novelist Douglas Adams, got there first, but now the astronomer royal has caught up. Professor Sir Martin Rees is to suggest that “life, the universe and everything” may be no more than a giant computer simulation with humans reduced to bits of software. Rees, Royal Society professor of astronomy at Cambridge University, will say that it is now possible to conceive of computers so powerful that they could build an entire virtual universe.

NI_MPU('middle');The possibility that what we see around us may not actually exist has been raised by philosophers many times dating back to the ancient Greeks and appears repeatedly in science fiction.

However, many scientists have always been dismissive, saying the universe was far too complex and consistent to be a simulation.

Despite this, the idea has persisted, popularised in films such as Tom Cruise’s Vanilla Sky and The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves.

It was also the basis for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, written by Adams, who died in 2001. In the book, Deep Thought creates the Earth and its human inhabitants as a giant calculating device to answer the “ultimate question”.

The BBC’s rerun of the radio version of Hitchhiker finished recently, just as Rees was putting together his contribution to the debate in which he will concede that the depictions by Adams, Cruise and Reeves might have been right after all.

In a television documentary, What We Still Don’t Know, to be screened on Channel 4 next month, he will say: “Over a few decades, computers have evolved from being able to simulate only very simple patterns to being able to create virtual worlds with a lot of detail.

“If that trend were to continue, then we can imagine computers which will be able to simulate worlds perhaps even as complicated as the one we think we’re living in.

“This raises the philosophical question: could we ourselves be in such a simulation and could what we think is the universe be some sort of vault of heaven rather than the real thing. In a sense we could be ourselves the creations within this simulation.”

Rees will emphasise that this is just a theory. But it is being increasingly discussed by other eminent physicists and cosmologists.

Among them is John Barrow, professor of mathematical sciences at Cambridge University. He points out that the universe has a degree of fine tuning that makes it safe for living organisms.

Even a tiny alteration in a fundamental force or a constant such as gravity would make stars burn out, atoms fly apart, and the world as we know it become impossible. Such fine tuning, he has said, could be taken as evidence for some kind of intelligent designer being at work.


10-31-2006, 12:21 PM
Would you all get out of my Dream!!!!!!!

Brit, where are you, you can stay!!!!

10-31-2006, 12:30 PM
i feel that we are sometimes...

10-31-2006, 12:39 PM
can i take the blue pill?

10-31-2006, 12:49 PM
can i take the blue pill?

certainly. Call a hooker if you acheive an erection past the four
hour mark.

10-31-2006, 12:56 PM
i have thought this for a long time. you just never know if god is just some really big kid who has a cool milkey way play set his parents got

10-31-2006, 01:59 PM
Earth is an alien reality TV show.

10-31-2006, 02:44 PM
Earth is an alien reality TV show.

Although I like it, I doubt it.

Would clearly explain all the idiots. But I can't see higher
life forms seeking passive entertainment like reality TV show viewers.

But maybe. Is this your own estimation or do you have a cult?

10-31-2006, 03:01 PM
How do we know it is not just a dream of a dream?

10-31-2006, 03:08 PM
Would you all get out of my Dream!!!!!!!

Brit, where are you, you can stay!!!!


10-31-2006, 04:41 PM
what happens when the guy wakes up, also is he in a comma?? cause dang that is a long nap

10-31-2006, 04:43 PM
(In my best Austin Powers voice........)

"Riiiiiiiiigggghhhhhhhttttttt" :lol:

10-31-2006, 05:00 PM
If it were a dream, my Fins wouldn't be 1-6.

Simulations are still reality.

10-31-2006, 05:34 PM
I think the lounge has turned into a dream. Err, a scary, awful
horrible NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!!


10-31-2006, 08:10 PM

10-31-2006, 08:36 PM
...damn those jets and bills viruses are tough to remove...