Monday, October 15, 2012

Physicists study whether the universe is a computer simulation. Has Intelligent design become mainstream or is there a double standard?

The article, Physicists say there may be a way to prove that we live in a computer simulation (by George Dvorsky at, is about physicists who are trying to determine if the universe is a computer simulation or not. I thought this was interesting because it is an investigation in the field of intelligent design. In most other cases where scientist want to investigate intelligent design, they are ostracized and persecuted and accused of doing pseudoscience. What is different about this situation? It seems to me there is a double standard. What gives these scientists immunity from persecution while so many others are singled out by skeptics for ridicule?

If it is reasonable to investigate if the universe is a computer simulation, is it also reasonable to investigate if the genetic code, the mechanism of transcription of DNA into mRNA, and mRNA translation into proteins is a type of self replicating computer that might have been produced by intelligent design? There are good theoretical reasons to doubt whether it was possible for the genetic code to have originated by evolution. The article The Finely Tuned Genetic Code by Jonathan M. at explains the problem:

The genetic code is finely tuned. It was either designed or it evolved from a random code to a finely tuned code.

Indeed, the genetic code found in nature is exquisitely tuned to protect the cell from the detrimental effects of substitution mutations. The system is so brilliantly set up that codons differing by only a single base either specify the same amino acid, or an amino acid that is a member of a related chemical group. In other words, the structure of the genetic code is set up to mitigate the effects of errors that might be incorporated during translation (which can occur when a codon is translated by an almost-complementary anti-codon).
However there are many reasons to doubt that the genetic code could evolve:
Changes in codon assignments would be catastrophic to the cell because such a mutation would ultimately lead to changes to the amino acid sequence in every protein produced by the cell.


Furthermore, the question is naturally raised as to what selective-utility would be exhibited by the new amino acids. Indeed, they would have no utility until incorporated into proteins. But that won't happen until they are incorporated into the genetic code. And thus they must be synthesized by enzymes that lack them. And let us not forget the necessity for the dedicated tRNAs and activating enzymes which are needed for including them in the code.

If the genetic code is finely tuned but did not evolve, it must have been designed.


Here is an excerpt from the article Physicists say there may be a way to prove that we live in a computer simulation (by George Dvorsky at

Physicists say there may be a way to prove that we live in a computer simulation

Back in 2003, Oxford professor Nick Bostrom suggested that we may be living in a computer simulation. In his paper, Bostrom offered very little science to support his hypothesis — though he did calculate the computational requirements needed to pull of such a feat. And indeed, a philosophical claim is one thing, actually proving it is quite another. But now, a team of physicists say proof might be possible, and that it's a matter of finding a cosmological signature that would serve as the proverbial Red Pill from the Matrix. And they think they know what it is.

According to Silas Beane and his team at the University of Bonn in Germany, a simulation of the universe should still have constraints, no matter how powerful. These limitations, they argue, would be observed by the people within the simulation as a kind of constraint on physical processes.

So, how could we ever hope to identify these constraints? Easy: We just need build our own simulation of the universe and find out. And in fact, this is fairly close to what the physicists are actually trying to do. To that end, they've created an ultra-small version of the universe that's down to the femto-scale (which is even smaller than the nano-scale).


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