Digital Physics


The earliest proponent of digital physics is said to be Konrad Zuse, one of the greatest computer scientists of the first half of the 20th century.

Its most vocal proponent today is without a doubt the British theoretical physicist called Stephen Wolfram. Another honorable mention is perhaps the Dutch Nobel-prize-winning physicist called Gerard 't Hooft.


About Digital Physics

Digital physics is a metaphysical statement that the fundamental laws of nature are such that they are able to be simulated by a computer. The science is still far from discovering the fundamental laws of nature, so such statements still belong to metaphysics (show/hide details).
Digital physics is not widely accepted, and the main reason for that is probably that it's not being communicated in a good way. Digital physics is often described, even by its proponents, as the theory that the world could be a computer simulation. That's quite a bit misleading. Digital physics doesn't suppose it's likely that our universe is simulated by some giant computer in some alien civilization, it simply supposes that the fundamental laws of nature are such that they could, in principle, be simulated by an enough-powerful computer. A perhaps better summary would be that the universe itself is a giant computer (not a "computer simulation").
So, here are some of its implications:
  1. The material world doesn't exist. Every being in the world is made only of information that's manageable by a computer, that is, ideas.
  2. There are no miracles. Every event that happens in the world has to be explicable using those fundamental and computable natural laws.
  3. God doesn't, and can't, exist. The same goes for the afterlife.
  4. Free will is entirely explicable using the computational complexity. Every system with enough computational complexity can be said to have free will.
  5. Space and time themselves are made of pixels, small pieces of information. Each pixel is connected to a relatively small number of other pixels by an adjacency list. A change (movement) in one of these pixels can be caused only by the state of the pixels it's connected to. If you know the state of the pixels it's connected to, you can calculate its state.
I realize that most of the implications I've listed seem absurd to most of the people today. But it's actually very easy to argue for them. Space and time being made of pixels appears to efficiently solve the Zeno's paradox of the Achiles and Tortoise.

Zeno's paradox
It goes like this: Consider a race of fast Achilles and a slow turtle. At the beginning of the race, the turtle is placed ahead of Achilles by 100m. Both of them start to run. Achilles reaches the place where the turtle used to be at the beginning of the race, however, the turtle has already moved a little. Achilles then runs to the place when the turtle was when he was 100m ahead of his start, however, the turtle has moved a bit more. And by the time Achilles reaches the place where the turtle is, the turtle will have moved even farther away. Therefore, Achilles can never overtake the turtle, only the distance between them decreases, but it never reaches zero. Now, obviously, Achilles will eventually overtake the Turtle. It seems like the only sensible solution is that we assume that space and time are made of pixels, that the space is made of small cubes and that no particle can occupy only a part of such a cube, and that time is also not continuous. Then, the distance between Achilles and the turtle can't be between zero and the length of a pixel, but it goes immediately to zero when it comes the time when it should be smaller than a pixel, as it happens in computer games.
For most of the people today, the idea that the material world doesn't exist seems absurd. But, to paraphrase George Berkeley, we can only perceive ideas. When we say we see the Moon, we don't mean we perceive the Moon itself, we perceive only its appearance. And appearance is an idea. And the ideas can't be caused by material things, they share no properties of material things. Ideas can only be caused by other ideas. Therefore, the Moon can't be made only of material things, it has to be made of ideas. So, even if matter does exist, we have no way of perceiving it. It can't have an effect on anything we perceive, and it's therefore not a part of this world in any meaningful way.
Many people would say there is enough evidence of miracles supposedly happened in history, like the resurrection of the Christ. I think that they say that because they haven't tried to imagine the situation the New Testament describes. Imagine that someone you love is murdered. While you grieve, there comes some stranger and claims he is that person who rose from the dead. Would you believe him? Of course not! Then why do people think the apostles were right to do so? And that is assuming the events described by the New Testament actually happened. Why assume that? New Testament makes some very specific historic statements, which turn out to be false. For example, the Massacre of Innocents described in the Gospel of Matthew 2:16. No serious historian argues it really happened. Not to mention obvious nonsense such as the "mountain so high all the kingdoms on Earth are visible from it" from Luke 4:5 and Matthew 4:8 (implying the Earth is flat) and obvious contradictions between the Gospels (Who discovered the empty tomb? Did angel Gabriel reveal himself to Joseph or to Mary?...). So, even if we disregard the basic principle of history (that our understanding of history has to be in line with science), there still remains a strong case against the Bible being a reliable source. I don't have all the time in the world to look into other supposed holy books, but I suspect them to be similar in that regard.
We appear to be bombarded with the examples of miracles happening everywhere. However, we almost never have enough knowledge to evaluate those examples. And when we do, we end up with a conclusion that maybe it wasn't a miracle after all. People in ancient times used to believe that everything was a miracle: earthquakes meant spirits were displeased and a flash from sky meant God was angry. Today, we laugh at those superstitions. Yet, many people use that same type of reasoning today.
The simple truth is, if there was a good all-powerful God, there would be no evil in the world. But there obviously is. And, no, free will is not the only cause of it. How could free will be responsible for the earthquakes and the children being born ill? Furthermore, thanks to modern science, we know evil in the world long predates free will: animals capable of feeling pain existed for hundreds of millions of years before humans. Many religious people, starting perhaps with the philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, say we are living in the best of all possible worlds, and all the evil is an illusion. But if that were true, engineering (improving the world by applying science) would be impossible, and it clearly is not.
Many people find the idea that there is no afterlife frightening. Well, I find the idea of there being one way more frightening. Think of it this way: you were dead for eternity before you were born. It's not that you suffered because of that, you just simply weren't there. And I find it comforting to think that everyone who claims there is something to be afraid of after you die is just sucking that out of his little finger. Afterlife, as is commonly imagined, appears to contradict the basics of quantum mechanics. Namely, most people imagine souls as something that can see but can in no way be detected. But quantum mechanics teaches us there is no such thing as a passive observer. Not to mention the philosophical problems with afterlife, namely, what makes you you. In what sense is a soul, which does not have any of your memories (which are demonstrably stored in your brain), you? What good is it if I am reunited with my dead grandmother in heaven if I will not be able to recognize her, nor will she be able to recognize me?
Atheism has a bad name, because some of the well-known atheists, like Karl Marx, just replaced God with another dogma, like communism. Socialism and communism don't logically follow from atheism in any way.
I hope I've communicated the ideas of digital physics in an understandable and thought-provoking way. I understand that, if you this is the first time you were exposed to the ideas of digital physics, you probably aren't convinced. In fact, you likely consider me crazy. It's OK, I just hope I've made you think so that you might change your mind.

UPDATE on 03/06/2018: There are many examples of how physical phenomena, which are almost impossible to calculate by hand, can be simulated by a computer program of just a few lines of code. One of them I've made is the analog clock linked to the left (the pendular movement is extremely hard to calculate, yet it can be easily simulated by a computer). The other one might be the electric field simulator I've made today. So, why couldn't the whole universe be just like that?

UPDATE on 29/07/2019: It's a common misconception that people educated in history and social sciences tend to believe in creationism, or at least strongly believe in God. That's just not true. I've opened a thread about religion on a Latin language forum, and what's obvious is that people there don't like talking about religion. In case that website goes down, here is the short essay I've written, feel free to copy from me: Quid homines in hac agora censent, num Deus realis sit? Ego censeo Deum non realem esse. Si Deus realis sit, quomodo possibile est ut tot differentes religiones in terra sint? Cur Deus permittat his religionibus exsistere, et ut tot homines audiant solummodo fabulas de Deis, quae non sunt veritas? Cur omnipotens et benevolens Deus permittat tot innocentibus hominibus in Tartarum ire falsae religionis causa?
Et Biblia dicit multas res, quas nunc scimus non veras esse. Jesus dixit eclipses lunae et solis signum Dei fuisse ("Sol convertetur in tenebras, et luna in sanguinem, antequam veniat dies Domini magnus et manifestus."). Nunc scimus, et multi philosophi eo tempore etiam sciebant, id non ita esse. Jesus praedicavit pauperes pauperiores futuros esse, et quod dives divitiores futuri sint ("Omni enim habenti dabitur, et abundabit, ei autem qui non habet, et quod videtur habere, auferetur ab eo."). Et hodie paene nemo est ita pauper, quomodo paene omnes homines eo tempore erant. Eo tempore paene omnes homines nudi erant, quia non poterant togas emere. Et Jesus etiam dixit bellum solutionem fuisse ("Nolite arbitrari quia pacem venerim mittere in terram, non veni pacem mittere, sed gladium."). Si Jesus in vicesimo saeculo esset, is cum socialistibus concordet. Jesu non fuit sapientia divina.
Et de theologia, ego diligo quod Richard Dawkins scripsit: "Theologia numquam dixit aliquid, quod neque perspicuum fuisset (facile visu), neque falsum fuisset. Quando theologia dixit aliquid, quod alicui utile (quod aliquem adiuvat) est? Vera scientia curas morborum sciscit, theologia loquitur peccata morbos facere.".

UPDATE on 02/09/2019: I received a response on the thread on the Latin forum, here is the response, and here is what I responded back: Quid homines in hac agora censent, num Deus realis sit? Ego censeo Deum non realem esse. Si Deus realis sit... Salve, amice!
Puto primum quaestionem esse, quid significat "esse"? Quaero quoque, quid significat "real"? Nonne facile est dicere deum non esse, si haec verba significant opiniones quae hodie mundum dominant?
Qualis res (realis) est?
Quid facimus cuando dicamus de rebus realibus et de rebus qui non reales sint? Quid agimus?
Vale
Adamus, qui nondum saepe latine loquor, quare errat.
Quid est tibi? Nonne cogitas hoc, quod scripsisti, posse etiam de draconibus et unicornibus dici, non solummodo de Deo?
Difficile dictu est quid realitas sit. Sed si aliquid absurdum sit, possumus scire id non realis esse. Omnipotens et benevolens Deus, qui terraemotos permittat, absurdus est. Benevolens (non malus) Deus, qui faciat homines in Tartarum ire falsae religionis causa, absurdus est. Et omnipotentia (verbum de aliquo qui omnia possit) ipsa absurda est. Potestne omnipotens Deus petram ita gravis (non levis) facere, ut eam is ipse non movere possit?

UPDATE on 15/10/2019: I've just published a YouTube video explaining more reasons to reject the concept of God. You can see it here. In case your browser has trouble playing that, you can download a low-quality MP4 video here. If that also fails, you can download a MP3 audio here.

UPDATE on 24/09/2020: I've published a YouTube video with English comments to my earlier video (which was in Latin). You can see it here. In case you can't open it, try downloading the minified MP4 video and opening it in VLC or something similar. If you have trouble understanding English spoken with a Croatian accent, you can download the transcript.

UPDATE on 18/12/2020: I've written another essay about religion in Latin, this time about afterlife. I've posted it on Reddit and Textkit. Quid homines in hac agora censent, num vita post mortem existat? Creditisne in paradisum, quo boni homines eunt cum morientur, et in flammam aeternam (Tartarus), ubi mali homines eunt cum morientur, vel in reincarnationem, et cetera? Ego censeo vitam post mortem non realem esse.
Multi homines huius temporis dicunt physica quantorum arguere pro vita post mortem. Sed ego censeo physica quantorum arguere contra vitam post mortem. Si non contra omnes formas vitae post mortem, tunc contra formam vitae post mortem in quam plurimi homines credunt. Plurimi homines imaginantur animas, et ut ea animas quodam modo possint videre, sed eae animae non possint videri ab aliquibus machinis. Sed physica quantorum docet nobis quod passivi observatores non dantur. Particulae electricitatis agunt ut undae cum non spectantur, sed eae agunt ut particulae cum spectantur. Si animae existunt quae possunt videre, eae animae possint videri ab aliquibus machinis. Ergo, forma vitae post mortem, in quam plurimi homines credunt, ea contradicit firmissimae scientiae, quae est physica quantorum.
Et ego censeo omnia forma vitae post mortem contradicunt scientiae de cerebro. Rogeris: Quid aliquod ens debet habere, ut illud ens tu ipse sit? Illud ens debet habere tuas memorias et tuas ideas, annon? Sed scimus eas res partes cerebri esse. Ergo, quomodo potest tua anima, pars tui quae supersit cum tu morieris, esse idem quod tu es? Si pars cerebri nocita est, homo non potest homines, quos scit, cognoscere. Non necessarium dictu, ea pars cerebri, quae homines cognoscit, finit operari tempore quo homo moritur. Quid bonum animae in paradiso esse sit, si ea anima non potest suos mortuos amicos cognoscere?
Et si homines habent animam qui tempus potest sentire, quomodo id est ut, cum homo evigilat ex coma ("somnium" in quo cerebrum agit nihil), is nescit quantum tempum ibat? Sane, aliqui homines qui in sine conscientia erant, dicunt se videre aliquid (lucem, cryptam, cuniculum...). Sed plurimi homines qui sine conscientia erant, memorantur nullas res ex eo tempore. Quomodo id possibile est, si homines habeant animas? Si homines habeant animas, homines qui sine conscientia sunt, sentiant longas (quia tempus ibat) silentes tenebras (quia partes cerebri, quae vident et audiunt, non operantur), annon?
Ego etiam censeo vitam post mortem contradicere theoriam evolutionis. Hodie nos scimus nostras mentes in gente esse cum mentes animalium. Ergo, ubi linea (limes) esset? Quae animalia habent animam, et quae animalia non habent animam? Spongiae animalia sunt quae non habent nervos. Ergo, habentne spongiae animas? Aliquae animalia, cindaria, exampli gratia, non habent cerebrum, sed habent nervos. An cindariae ergo habent animas? Et aliquae animalia plus intellegentia sunt ab aliquibus hominibus. Aliquae simiae plus intellegentes sunt ab aliquibus hominibus, qui cum debili cerebro nati sunt. An simiae ergo habent animas?
Multi homines censent iustitiam esse, quod vita post mortem (paradisum et flamma aeterna) existat. Sed omnia mala quae in hoc mundo possumus agere finita (non infinita) sunt, et poena flammae aeternae (Tartarus) infinita est. Ergo, poena flammae aeternae numquam potest iustitia esse. Reincarnatio etiam iustitia non est. Quomodo potest iustitia esse, aliquem punire si is non scit cur is punitur?
Multi homines dicunt se timere non existendi post mortem, quia non existere aliquid horribile sit. Sed omnes eramus mortui infinito tempore antequam nati sumus, et non patiebamur eius causa. Mors abstrahit omnia placita ex nostris vitis, sed ea etiam abstrahit omnes dolores ex nostris vitis. Cum mortui erimus, non sentiemus quo tempus ibit. Non videbimus aeternas tenebras. Mortuo homini tempus finit, tempus non ibit ei. Sicut Epicurus dixit: Cum ego sum, mors non est, et cum mors erit, ego non ero.
So far, I've received one slightly interesting response: Salve, fortasse discrimen me facere liceas, et spero mi dimittas quod non doctus sum Latine. Primum, puto physicam hodiernam non aliquid gentis tuae ostendere. Id est, ego censeo homines esse liberos; semper cum duae res sint quarum una eligi oportet, tu et ego et omnes quidquid facere possunt. Quia id censeo, necesse est dicere plus quam naturam (sententiam hodiernam) esse; quoniam si quidquid ex natura fit, nihil mundum mutare possit quod non in mundo iam fuit; meum et tuum cerebrum modo sit ab omnibus rebus perfactis creatum. Spero intelligas. Ergo, duae sunt viae: utra homines non sunt liberi an natura non est res sola. Puto quoque (ut dixi) homines liberos. Cur? Quia omnes mecum putant! Qui igitur non liberos esse putat, fortasse nimis multum putavit. Ergo natura non est sola; et quomodo physica possit cognoscere quod deesse naturae? Et, ceterum, rationes credendi religionis non malas existimo; inter omnes, Christi. Si verum est quod dixi (praecipue de libertate hominum) vita post mortem fere sit, vel docti id censere bene possint. Etiam de tuis rebus possim dicere, ante omnes velim de animis hominum post mortem mutandis, sed non multum tempus habeo. Tibi gratias:) I responded as follows: Salve, fortasse discrimen me facere liceas, et spero mi dimittas quod non doctus sum Latine. Per me, bene loqueris Latine. Primum, puto physicam hodiernam non aliquid gentis tuae ostendere. Forsan. Sed physica hodierna firmissima scientia est quae habemus. Omnia alia scientia quae habemus hodie peiora sunt. nihil mundum mutare possit quod non in mundo iam fuit Quid? Nostrae mentes clare interagunt cum mundo naturale, si non sint naturales ipsae. Nostrae mentes mutantur a res in mundo naturale: nos videmus luce et audimus aere, exampli gratia. Et nostrae mentes mutant mundum naturalem: eae possunt nostras musculos movere. meum et tuum cerebrum modo sit ab omnibus rebus perfactis creatum. Quid significat "perfactis"? Spero intelligas Non intellego. utra homines non sunt liberi an natura non est res sola Quid tibi signifat "liberi"? Natura non est deterministica, physica quantorum et secunda lex thermodynamici docet nobis id. Res in natura possunt esse liberae. Si omnisciens Deus exsistat, tunc spons (libera voluntas) forsan non possit exsistere. et quomodo physica possit cognoscere quod deesse naturae? Saeculos abhinc, homines censebant terraemotos res naturales non fuisse. Hodie, scientia de eis docet.
UPDATE on 29/12/2020: I've written a script for my new video about atheism.

UPDATE on 31/12/2020: I have published my new YouTube video about atheism in Latin. If you cannot open it, try downloading this MP4 and opening it in VLC or a similar program. See the link above for a transcript.