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The Simulation Hypothesis: Evidence From The Paranormal - by John Prytz

The real anomaly here is that firstly you havemulti-millions upon millions of reports within the "It Can't Be ThereforeIt Isn't vs. I Know What I Saw" genre from all cultures / societies andthroughout all of recorded history, yet secondly, the anomalous categories arejust a tiny fraction from all categories that are possible for the humanimagination to imagine / hallucinate if only the human imagination were atwork. For example, 1) you have sightings of the Loch Ness Monster (and alsoother aquatic lake monsters from other selected bodies of water) but notreports of sabre-tooth cats / tigers or trilobites or those super-ultra-giantcockroaches that roamed the Earth from the Carboniferous to the Cretaceous; and2) you have ghostly sightings of humans and even pets like cats and dogs, butnot ghostly dinosaurs or even Neanderthals. Further, you have sightings ofphantom trains and ships, but not phantom pyramids or other archaeologicalwonders / monuments or even more modern prominent buildings now torn down,demolish or otherwise destroyed nor even natural features like phantommountains or lakes.


The questions that need to be asked are can all of these"I know what I saw" people be wrong? Can all of these "It can'tbe therefore it isn't" statements also be wrong? Something is screwysomewhere! Can virtual reality come to the rescue?


The Simulation Hypothesis and the Paranormal


Can the Simulation Hypothesis help account for thatcategory of events I tend to label "It can't be therefore it isn't"versus "I know what I saw"?


There's the category of things seen but always elusiveand never substantiated: ghosts; UFOs; Bigfoot / Sasquatch; Loch Ness Monster(and other lake / sea monsters). They tend to all fall under the category of"It can't be therefore it isn't" versus "I know what Isaw". The reason for the paradox: This contains inherent inconsistenciesand contradictions. And there are numerous examples as suggested above: UFOs,alien abductions and ancient astronauts; mind over matter from ESP to telekinesisto remote viewing to the placebo effect; accepted miracles (by the CatholicChurch for example); the Indian rope trick; supernaturally themed visions;ghosts, hauntings and poltergeist; phantom objects (i.e. - trains); anomalousdisappearances; OBEs and NDEs; past lives and reincarnation; alternativemedicine from copper bracelets to acupuncture to use of crystals to the powerof positive thinking; the wee-folk like leprechauns, elves and fairies; the notso wee-folk as in the Amazons or those Biblical giants in the earth as well asGoliath; and one should honestly also include quantum physics here. Therealmost seems to be way more things to disagree on than agree on. 


The Simulation Hypothesis and Panpsychism


Panpsychism is the concept that all things, even thefundamental particles, are to some degree or other, conscious. You'll oftenfind in at least popular science tomes that this or that particles somehow"decides" to do this or that. For example, how does a photon"decide" to either pass through a pane of glass or reflect off of thepane of glass? How does a particle "know" if an observer is watchingit? Of course, virtual photons or any other kind of particle will do what thesoftware programs them to do.


The Simulation Hypothesis and Cryptozoology


Can the Simulation Hypothesis help explain the ins andouts of cryptozoology? Cryptozoology itself is the investigation of anomalousanimals that have been witnessed, yet which remain outside of the realm ofnormal zoology.


Cryptozoology is yet another example of [Con] "Itcan't be therefore it isn't" versus [Pro] "I know what I saw".


[Pro] The sightings of anomalous animals aregeographically unique and pretty consistent.


[Con] These animals shouldn't / couldn't exist.


[Pro] But ordinary people with no ulterior motive havereported seeing them.


[Con] There are however no bodies and by now there shouldhave been bodies found.


So why just plesiosaurs at Loch Ness? Why not otherextinct 'marine' reptiles like the ichthyosaurus, or the tylosaurs or even themosasaurs? And why just a very select few of Scotland's lochs are home toplesiosaurs? And why is a marine reptile in fresh water anyway?


In Africa there's the 'dinosaur' Mokele-mbembe. But whynot the Dodo or Pink Elephants?


So why just huge hairy man-apes in the Pacific Northwest?Why not woolly mammoths or sabre-tooth cats?


In Australia we have the Yowie. But why not killer koalasor moas?


In the Himalayas you have the Yeti. Why not dragons orthe wooly rhinoceros?


In Mexico / Latin America there's the Chupacabra. Why notunicorns or centaurs?


Then there's the Jersey Devil; Mothman; the Beast ofExmoor and on and on it goes. "It can't be therefore it isn't" versus"I know what I saw" is easily resolved as noted above by specialeffects technologies, like programmed software. 


The Simulation Hypothesis and Dragons


As a personal philosophy I have tended to be of theopinion that within any mountain of mythology, there is a molehill of fact. Thedifficulty is trying to figure out what molehill fraction of the mountain isthe factual bit. The other philosophical bit is that whenever you have a commonmythological theme that cuts across all cultures, all societies, through alleras of time, then one needs to sit up and take notice and figure out why – issome facet of reality trying to assert itself? Might dragons be one of thosecultural universals; one of those molehills of mythological reality?


If dragons and dragon-lore was the product of just oneculture at say one particular point in time, the concept could be easilydismissed. But when they appear in every culture, from ancient times even upthrough the 1700’s when they were still part of natural history, then one needsto pay closer attention. That’s all the more so since dragons were taken veryseriously indeed, like in China. The best guess scenario is that while dragonsmay be considered mythical today; they certainly were not, not too awfully thatmany generations ago. If that’s the case, if dragons were really real once upona time, then the anomaly is – no fossils. The hidden assumption is of coursethat they were biologically flesh-and-blood.


Mythology texts hardly ever explain why dragons areuniversally past and beloved in the present in nearly all societies in thefirst place. It’s one thing to just say dragons are mythological beings; it’squite something else to explain how that is in light of such detail thatsurrounds dragon-lore and their universality.


For something that doesn’t exist, and never hasexisted, dragons and dragon-lore has quite the remarkable hold throughoutnearly all societies, from novels to films to video games; they also appear oncoats-of-arms, on calendars, in art works, sculptures, depicted on the prows ofViking longboats, incorporated into ancient jewellery, and as toys. Dragonsappear as corporate logos and as part of the names of companies, not to mentionsports teams. Then too in the Chinese calendar (zodiac) there is ‘The Year ofthe Dragon’.


Is there anybody from the age of four onwards on theface of the Earth who isn’t aware of the mythological creature popularly knownas the dragon? The exceptions would be so relatively rare that I would have to concludethat of nearly all things make-believe, dragons are probably in the top tenrecognition list. So, is that the be-all-and-end-all of things? Behind mostmyths, folklore or fairy tales often there is a tiny kernel of fact behind theapparent fiction. What about that kernel at the core of dragon-lore?


Thevirtual reality of dragons has been amply demonstrated via special effects andcomputer software programs / video games. So, might the universality ofdragon-lore be explained by the Simulation Hypothesis?


The Simulation Hypothesis and Ghosts


I think there might be a real scientific case toanswer regarding an explanation for ghosts. However, IMHO ghosts have nothingto do with human spirits and evidence of an afterlife. Rather, all can beexplained by postulating that we live in, and are the product of a simulatedUniverse.


The anomaly hereis that you’ve had hundreds of thousands, probably even millions, ofobservations of ghosts or ghostly manifestations since recorded history startedbeing, well, recorded. Sightings of apparitions or specters or spirits,whatever, have been made and reported from every possible type of person fromevery possible walk of life. They can’t all be mistaken. The fly in theointment is that all of this is without there being the slightest shred ofphysical, chemical or biological theory that can back up the sightings. Thereis just no way a deceased body can split in two and end up being half dead (thepart that’s buried or cremated) and half animated (the ghost), yet the ghost,since it is animated, it can been seen and heard and interact with thesurrounding environment after all, must be composed of matter and energy whichpresumable had to have been part and parcel of the original body to start with.As such the ghost needs to feed to replenish that matter and expended energyand no doubt perform related bodily functions. No physics or chemistry orbiology known to mankind can manipulate a deceased body’s matter and energy insuch a way as to account for that body’s ghost.


So ghosts are allobservation with no adequate theory to support them (unlike say the UFOextraterrestrial hypothesis which has solid theory to back up the possibility).There is no viable way of splitting a body up into two whole (matter and energy)parts at least one of which is viable (alive) and that applies equally toout-of-the-body experiences and near-death experiences. Another question: Ifthat were possible, why stop at two (the ghost and the dead body; theout-of-the-body body and the body it came from; the near-death body and itsanimated counterpart) – why not a trio or thirty or three hundred ‘clones’?


Ghosts or phantomsor spirits or wraiths, call them what you will, are known from just about everyculture and society from just about every historical era you care to identify.They tend to be identified with the ‘remains’ of people recently (or even notso recently) deceased. Now the question is, why aren’t sighted ghosts, orphantom hitchhikers, etc. naked? I mean it’s the person who died, not what theywere wearing, so if a ghost is the essence of a former living person, andclothing doesn’t contribute to the nature of that essence, then ghosts shouldbe seen naked!


You’re now dead and so part of you turns into a ghost.Alas, only part of you performs this magical transformational split since whileothers may see your ‘living’ ghost, they can also witness at the same time yourvery dead and decaying (or decayed) body. Something is screwy somewhere. Nowthe physical you seemingly kicks the bucket – you die. However, some part ofthat ‘you’ doesn’t kick the bucket, but instead retains animation. So, likeSchrodinger’s Cat, you are both ‘alive’ and dead at the same time. Talk about asplit personality!


Now presumably, at the time of death, you lose weight,that weight transferred into the newly animated part of you – your ghost. Yourghost must have weight since it is something physical, and being physical, issubject to the laws, principles and relationships of physics. Why is your ghostphysical?  It’s physical since if you cansee it, if you can hear it, if it interacts with its (haunted house)environment, it must have substance. You can’t see or hear or interact with anothing! A nothing of no material substance cannot interact with a materialsomething, like matter and energy. Only matter and energy can interact withmatter and energy.


Okay, so you are dead and your ghost is alive, or atleast is associated with animation. How can this be logically explained? Doesevery part of your deceased body contribute to your ‘I am alive’ ghost, or onlybits and pieces? Does your ghostly self have a ghostly stomach and lungs? Logicdemands that since your ghost is physical, it needs to ward off the second lawof thermodynamics – entropy – in order to retain its ghostliness. Your ghostgives off energy. That needs to be replenished. Translated, your ghost needs toeat, drink, breath, sleep, etc. otherwise your ghost will also kick the bucketsince neither you, when you were fully alive as one unity, or you, as thatdead/alive split personality, can give off energy endlessly without replacingit. 


All up, the transition from a 100% alive you to an X%dead you coupled with a Y% alive or animated you (i.e. – your ghost) cannot beexplained by any concept of physics, chemistry or biology that is currently onthe books. The logical conclusion is that when you are dead, you’re dead: fullstop.


When you kick-the-bucket, your body will release someenergy - infrared (heat) energy as your body cools down to whatever temperaturethe surrounding environment is. Also, because you are slightly radioactive,your body's radioactivity will of course decay away and that too is a form ofenergy. However, in both cases the energy just dissipates into the environmentand doesn't hold together in any sort of coherent form - ghostly or otherwise.


But two other points come to mind here. 1) Ghosts seem toslowly fade away over time. That is, ancient Greeks (and Romans and Egyptiansand Chinese) saw their ghosts being of those (Greeks, Romans, Egyptians,Chinese) who came slightly before them. Today, we don't see ghosts of theancient Greeks (or Romans or Egyptians or Chinese, etc.) but only ghostsoriginating from within the past several hundreds of years. Going back evenfurther, I haven't heard of any sightings of ghostly Neanderthals (thoughpresumably Neanderthals no doubt saw ghosts of some their ancestors) or forthat matter of ghostly Woolly Mammoths or Sabre Tooth Tigers or of dinosaurs orof trilobites. Whether dinosaurs saw ghosts of other dinosaurs that precededthem is an unanswerable question. So it would seem that ghosts aren't immortalor long-lasting. 2) Something which has puzzled many a ghostly skeptic is that ghostsapparently can walk / glide through walls, yet are never seen to fall throughthe floor! 


So, for the hear-and-now, I'll go along with the realityof ghostly phenomena on the grounds of this being something common to allcultures and societies throughout all time periods of human recorded history.Anytime one has such a universal, serious explanations are required. However,until a more plausible scientific explanation comes along, I'll continue topostulate the Simulation Hypothesis. 


Another problem is that not all ghosts are biological.There are reports of ghost trains, and phantom ships, and other things thathave no connection with the biological world. Ghosts (and related like phantomtrains) are just one of those six impossible things some people believe inbefore breakfast. However, I do provide an escape clause. 


Escape Clause: Apart from special effects onmake-believe TV and in the movies, and works of literary fiction where allthings are possible, there is another realm where anything goes – virtualreality; video games; simulations of all kinds. It’s in fact a simulatedUniverse that resides in the guise of computer software. Software can beprogrammed to give rise to images or experiences of ghosts. Once you go downthe simulation landscape route, you could, for example, have existence in otherdimensional realms like the famous 2-D “Flatland”. That in fact might well bethe case if the Holographic Universe Hypothesis is correct.



The Simulation Hypothesis and UFOs


It doesn't ultimately matter what's at the bottom or coreof the UFO phenomena, UFO sightings have demonstrated that UFO behavior totallyviolates all of our understanding of known physical law, especially inertia.When it comes to UFOs in motion, inertia doesn't seem to exist, Newton bedamned.


There are numerous sightings, both visual and radar, ofrapidly moving UFOs stopping on a dime or undergoing super acceleration from astop. There are reports of high speed right-angle turns, even instantaneous 180degree reversals of flight direction.


Then you add into the mix sightings of UFOs that mergetogether or split apart; enormous sized 'craft' hovering in place without asound; rapid gains in altitude without any obvious means of propulsion; radarreturns without visual confirmation and visual sightings without radar returns.


So, computer-generated special effects to the rescue?


The Simulation Hypothesis and Crop Circles


“It can’t be therefore it isn’t” vs. “I know what I saw”doesn’t really apply to the crop ‘circle’ phenomena. Crop 'circles' exist andare obviously the products of intelligent design. The only terrestrialintelligence capable of doing this are humans. However, that means that eachand every crop 'circle' had to have been designed and executed by a human(s).That would appear to be an actual impossibility based on the evidence sincecrop 'circles' have appeared in areas where either there were no humans orhumans would have been easily observed. So what is the ultimate physicalreality behind or of this anomaly? Is there a physical reality if crop circlesare part of the virtual reality landscape that is programmed as part and parcelof the overall computer simulation?


Simulation Hypothesis and the Bible


The entire Bible (or any other holy book for that matter)could be simulated via computer software (and lots of parts have been'simulated' via film on TV and in cinemas). You could imagine a computer /video game where you get to play God (or any other Biblical character) andcreate life, the Universe and everything, issue commandments, pass judgments,kill the wicked, battle Satan, denounce other gods, precipitate and engage inArmageddon or the apocalypse. Lots of fun! Or, one could redo the entire New Testamentand make Jesus dance to your tune. Anyway, the point is if it can be done (andit can be done) then maybe that's the way it was done. Take Genesis: Once therewas 'nothing' and then there was a something - the software kicked in; the BigBang event happened; let there be light and there was light, etc. And the rest,as they say, is history.

Science librarian; retired.

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