Did the big bang accidentally happen?

Big Bang or Demiurge?

Plato had a very simple answer to the question of how the universe came into being: It was the Demiurge!

Big Bang or System Start?

The hypothesis that our reality is a simulation running on an unimaginably powerful computer is by no means as absurd as you might think - and absolutely not a topic reserved for science fiction! Although most natural scientists, for understandable reasons, only make very cautious statements about such views, they nonetheless provide - unintentionally or deliberately - plenty of material and arguments that are worth discussing. In this essay I have summarized the relevant research results, speculations and conclusions - in some cases greatly simplified.

Almost two and a half thousand years ago the idea of ​​a creator god who orders material chaos, gives it structure and meaning, was common in many cultures. Demiurge comes from the Greek word for craftsman, and the philosopher not only denotes the builder of the universe, but also expresses his disdain for the parasitic idleness in a cunning and provocative way: in the social hierarchy and esteem, the craftsmen rank after the nobility and landowners only in third place!

While most cultures and religions grant their creators of the world a princely rank, Plato honored the creative, the creative and the useful with his concept of a world builder toiling in the sweat of his brow. That deserves sympathy and the highest respect - and has certainly earned him the enmity of the Greek aristocracy.

While religion from a cultural-historical, anthropological and ethnological point of view was apparently not only inevitable but also necessary as an instrument of power, moral-ethical corrective and moderator of social interactions in the pre-industrial development phase of mankind, it has lost nothing in the century of space travel, nuclear physics and computer science .

In view of the scientific and humanistic achievements of the industrial age, religion must be viewed as an insult to the human mind.

Human genius makes gods unemployed

Space probes plow through interstellar space far beyond Pluto's orbit; Astronomers discover planets orbiting stars many light-years away; Quantum physicists research the smallest components of matter with the largest and most complex machine that humans have ever built and that generates energies as they existed in the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang; Cyberneticists / computer scientists are about to coat our planet with an electronic neocortex; Geneticists create new forms of life like gods - people have long since wrested hammers and chisels from their gods and are hitting grandiose temples of reason from the rock of eternity.

And in this era of emancipation from mental and physical oppression, the Supreme Catholic reaffirms one of the most barbaric and ridiculous rituals in Christendom: exorcism. In these wonderful times of the spiritual big bang, Muslims throw themselves on their stomachs five times a day and mutter that Allah is the greatest. While the ISS glides through space above their heads, Jews like children write wish lists before Christmas and stick them in the cracks of the Western Wall, convinced that Yahweh will definitely read them. At least they can send their prayer slips by fax or email. A Hindu prefers to be bitten by the flea twelve times instead of killing him - because it could be the reincarnation of the grandmother who was different from last year. The pseudo-wisdoms of Buddhism have at least a certain entertainment value and definitely represent an intellectual challenge - something like a good game of chess.

You guessed it, at least now: the author is an incorrigible, incorrigible, in a certain and quite paradoxical way a "religious" atheist himself. Because I adhere to atheism with the same unshakable conviction as an orthodox Christian, Muslim or Jew of his religion. However, that does not prevent me from studying the scriptures of the world's religions with curiosity and interest. I have, for example, four Koran translations and one translation of the Hadith (Al Bukhari) along with plenty of secondary literature, numerous books on Christian theology, literature on the Talmud and of course the Kabbalah, the Buddhist Pali canon and an extra edition of the "Four Noble Truths" as well as the main Upanishads and Vedic texts. In addition, literature about Confucius and Laudse, the "Zen Bible" (written down from the emerald rock face) and and and ...

The heart of the Mahabharata has been one of my favorite scriptures for decades: the Baghavadgita - much more a shockingly unsparing description of human nature than a story about gods.

But all this interest, the extensive reading and numerous conversations have not brought me a single step closer to religion, but inexorably further removed me from it.

Because my scientific library and my interest in scientific topics - especially cosmology and quantum physics - are many times larger, and in a direct comparison of the religious with the scientific statements and findings, my appreciation of religion has fallen to the level that I already above clearly named: an insult to the human mind.

However, that does not mean that I generally reject transcendental world concepts. I consider one such concept to be possible - but not very likely. But the low probability should not prevent me from examining this concept more closely. Everything that is possible is also worth investigating.

world on wire

world on wire - that's how Rainer Werner Fassbinder had his film adaptation of the novel in 1973 Simulacron-3 (1964, D. F. Galouye) named. It was my first encounter with the subject of "virtual worlds". Compared to current novels and films about VR worlds, Fassbinder's film had a very simple set-up and story. Nevertheless, I was immediately fascinated by the topic and it was the real reason to deal with cybernetics. Later, in the mid-80s, this passion culminated in the fact that - inspired by the Fassbinder film - I myself wrote a novel on the subject: Copyworld.

In the meantime, the idea of ​​virtuality has even moved into the back room of cosmology. Officially and publicly, not a single serious scientist dares to speculate about it. But very occasionally on the sidelines of other discussions, in a subordinate clause or a footnote, it was possible, quite hypothetically, with the necessary restraint and of course only for the purpose of understanding and for the sake of completeness ...

Let's not hold it against them. The competition in the scientific community is conducted with a degree of severity that the public is not nearly aware of: the tatters are flying, this is war, the heads are rolling like in the French Revolution.

Anyone who is naked will be mercilessly flattened. That is why most scholars exercise caution when it comes to speculative subjects. It's a shame, but understandable. And that's why I especially like those of them who are not afraid to publish the craziest theories - although I do not agree with all of these craziness.

Fortunately, it must I but don't hold me back! On the contrary: For an SF writer it is one of the sacred duties, as I understand it, to map the no man's land between science and imagination.

So let's imagine the universe is a simulation running on an incredibly powerful computer.

God needs a pretty big desk

The first question that arises is: How incredibly big? And especially: Where does the thing stand?

The answer to question one can be calculated with some accuracy, but even before the arithmetic work one can roughly estimate: This computer - let's call it from now on World machine, because it will probably have nothing to do with a conventional Turing machine - the amount of information must be 10a lot can process. Contrary to expectations, this can be specified more precisely.

A computer that would be as big and as old as the whole universe, that has been calculating continuously since its existence and whose components are individual long-lived elementary particles, could up to now at most 10120 Operations - namely the number of elementary building blocks (1080) multiplied by the age of the world in elementary times (1040). The age of the world is included in the estimates because every component - every elementary particle - can only be involved in at most one operation per elementary time; if there were more, the stability of the component would be called into question and the computer would no longer be reliable.

Professor Alfred Gierers

Calculation gives a first indication of the information content of the universe, but only takes into account the level of the nucleons. However, we have to calculate down to the Planck level.

C. F. von Weizsäcker also arrives at this number - in a completely different way - but also only calculated up to the nucleon level.

The Israeli mathematician and physicist Jacob Bekenstein made an important contribution to this: He calculated the information content of a single proton and came up with an almost unbelievable 1040 Bit! From this it follows purely formally that the number of bits in the entire universe is 10160 increases - but even that does not take into account the immense amount of information that is generated by the uncertainty relation discovered by Heisenberg (less precise, but more clearly also called "quantum uncertainty"). If the concept of the superposition (superposition) of all states with a probability does not turn out to be an error, this number will be unimaginably large.

Look, Lloyd at MIT, who changed John Wheeler's legendary saying "It from Bit" to "It from Qubit", has calculated that our universe - if it were a computer - by now 10123 Bit would have calculated. Lloyd is the father of a really very exotic cosmological idea: He assumes that the universe is a quantum computer that is constantly calculating itself. This has nothing to do with the virtual universe that we want to investigate here, but rather goes in the direction of holographic theories - but the number gives an initial orientation, defines the minimum requirements for the world machine. Although I see a blatant contradiction to Bekenstein's calculation, which I trust more.

Roger Penrose calculated a number that is much larger and includes the quantum level: 10 to the power of 10123 Bit - so 10 to the power of the Lloyd number! The eccentric, but undoubtedly ingenious cosmologist Frank J. Tipler interprets precisely this number as sufficient computer capacity for the emulation of an entire universe! The seems plausible.

Well, now we at least know that Deep Blue is at best for controlling the fans of the world machine, and that the Creator must have a fairly large desk ...

Now to the question: where is the world machine? The answer is easy. It stands in an eternally inaccessible1 meta-universe. It cannot stand in our universe because it cannot stand in its own emulation program. Not even if it were a virtual machine itself. (Warning: do not confuse it with the Lloyd Universe! This is a fundamentally different concept in which there is no outside of the Universe Creator - i.e. no transcendental entity.)

But we want to examine the only conceivable and possible transcendental concept and must now ask the question of the Creator who built the world machine and created the universe. And when we're through this we try to understand Why this creator did it.

I propose that we call this entity in honor of Plato Demiurge.

Does the demiurge have a nose?

What could he look like? Like us? With a nose in the middle of the face and hair roots in the scalp? Probably not. In addition, there is hardly anything more irrelevant than its physical nature.

The relevant thing is: he thinks! He has goals and intentions, ideas and plans, theories and hypotheses. Maybe also emotions, desires, humor.

What is relevant is: Regardless of whether he is a single, solitary entity or a sub-constituent of a complex noosphere - he is a master of technology and science. The nature of his creation even allows the conclusion that his thinking algorithms are recognizable to us and possibly also applicable: If we are able to research his creation, we could possibly also understand the laws of the meta-universe - if he gave us an interface make available and thus enable access.

We would have a valuable clue to his way of thinking if we knew why he created the universe. But there are so many possible answers to this question that we can only guess.

Most interesting for us, and with some prospect of communication, would be the answer: he is a researcher, and emulating the universe is a research project. Our cosmologists have been using powerful computers for many years to simulate models of the universe, investigate a wide variety of astrophysical phenomena, processes and theories using computer simulations - this method has become an indispensable part of physics. The most famous three-dimensional model of the entire visible universe is one of the most spectacular, but not even the most demanding simulation. However, the resolution in this simulation is so low that no individual stars, let alone planets or even the elementary particle level can be simulated. Our computers cannot be used as world emulators.

A thirst for knowledge is a characteristic of highly developed thinking and is very easy to imagine as a motive. But the question needs to be deepened: What could the demiurge want to investigate using the simulation? Much depends on the answer for us. If he is only interested in cosmological or physical knowledge, it would not be unusual if the emergence of life or even intelligence in his laboratory experiment did not make him euphoric at all, because he had already experienced these risks and side effects so often that they caused him to in the worst case, they may even be rather annoying. Because technologically highly developed intelligence could well spit in the soup, falsify the results through manipulations on a galactic or metagalactic scale. One would have to understand the researcher when he reaches for the virtual insect spray and disinfects his universe with an apocalyptic gamma burst ...

So we'd rather like an evolution experiment. But we're not on the safe side either. Everything depends on the specific objective. If the demiurge wants to find out which cosmological parameters are most effective in favoring the development of five-headed mineral-eaters, we have damned bad cards and can only hope that five-headed mineral-eaters are developing somewhere in the universe and chewing on delicious chunks of porphyry with satisfaction. That would certainly prevent the reboot with changed start parameters.

An almost infinite number of objectives can be imagined. Annoyingly only very few who would explain the Demiurge's extraordinary interest in us humans of all people. Let's not kid ourselves: There are certainly a whole lot more interesting, lovable and lovable, smarter and more ingenious, weird and droll species in the endless expanses. We are actually pretty lousy, sinister fellows and can at best serve as a deterrent example to the universal community.

But in a cosmic aquarium we would do really well as the little vicious smelly boots! Perhaps our universe is just in a demiurgic living room on the flower bench, and the papa-demiurge says to the daughter-demiurge: "Ouch, gugge there!

It could just as well be that our universe is gathering dust in the toy box owned by Sohnemann-Demiurg, who forgot to turn off his toys. Then all we have to do is wait and see how long the batteries will last.

Let's leave it at that. The question is much more interesting: How can we recognize that we are living in a simulation or emulation?

You will hardly want to believe it: the chances are not bad at all! And there are indeed some inconsistencies in our theories about the world which, in the context of a simulation, could find a supposedly elegant, but in fact unsatisfactory explanation. Unsatisfactory because the problem would not really be resolved, it would simply be moved to a level to which we do not have access.

There is something fishy in the universe

In a modification of the famous Hamlet saying, we can state: Something is rotten in our universe. There are really only two possible explanations: Either it's us or it's the universe.

Either our theories, our insights, and our understanding of the universe are flawed - or the universe itself has been screwed up without due care.

Programmers will sigh with me - hackers smirk - agree: There is no such thing as error-free software. The reasons are varied: from inevitable conceptual compromises in the program architecture to Monday hangovers and the associated caffeine poisoning.

But before we look for evidence of botch and botch, let's examine the rough concept: What worried me when I was even less familiar with modern cosmological theories is the absolute finality of the Planck level - although the structures that seep into boring infinity are fractal Concepts don't seem any less scary, as they cause a little less discomfort to human logic. In the context of ideas, hypotheses and theories in which infinity is indispensable, the finite absoluteness of this supposedly fundamental quantum level appears to have been created arbitrarily.

How would a researcher experience "his" microcosm, which we - simply assuming the required computer power, tacitly assume - bring it to life in a simulation running on the PC?

He would advance to an insurmountable barrier: The smallest particles of his world, manifested by the emulation program in the form of bytes, would be puzzling phenomena for him, which follow laws that seem to work into his world from a sphere closed to him and incomprehensible. Possibly he would call it the "quantum sphere" and desperately rack his brains about how he can break through this barrier and get to the bottom of the spooky effects from this level that contradict all logic. The level of the bytes is basically imperceptible to him. His world ends exactly at this barrier ...

Does that sound familiar to you? We are in exactly the same position! The phenomena of the quantum level, which contradict all classical logic and all laws of the macroscopic levels, present themselves to us as if they were effects from another dimension. We call this "other dimension" a little belittling "quantum vacuum" and suggest to ourselves that we have understood what it is about. That in this "quantum boiling" ceaselessly virtual particles (!) Physical particles are created, we state without really being aware of what "virtual" means: "Virtuality specifies an imaginary entity or an entity concretized through its properties, which is not physically present, but is present in its functionality or effect. "I quote this from Wikipedia, because nowhere have I found it better formulated and certainly not to get to the point myself One could also say: The virtual particle exists as code in the emulation program and becomes physically existent in the simulation as soon as the code is executed.

The quote from an article on the quantum vacuum is also astonishing when you embed it in the context discussed here:

This higher dimensional quantum space is an information store from which everything arises and into which everything returns.


The statement reads like from a manual for world emulation.

Even the currently most modern cosmological theory - loop quantum gravity - sets an absolute lower limit for physical reality by postulating the smallest spacetime elements that combine to form a spin network or spin foams. The uncompromising geometry of the forces in this theory is somewhat similar to Einstein's geometric theory of gravity - and is therefore a hot candidate for the "world formula". From the point of view of emulation, this theory is also interesting precisely because of this geometry - the could be implemented by a demiurge in a program algorithm! Or vice versa: From this we could infer the algorithm on which the emulation program is based.

All quantum phenomena seem so absurd and far removed from any classical logic that one can indulge in the thought experiment of seeing their causes on an implementation level inaccessible to us: Complementarity, fuzziness, entanglement - these are properties that even many quantum physicists only accept with a shake of the head.

But they can be imagined without contradiction as the effects of a code executed outside of our reality.

There are plenty of indications of "programming errors" or operating errors. Let's start at the beginning. Immediately after the system boot, a mishap apparently happened: Suddenly the universe - for no apparent reason - expanded so quickly that its individual regions (which, however, are still submicroscopic) cannot interact with each other. This is called the inflation. This phase was very short and ended just as abruptly and inexplicably, but it caused today's mass distribution in the universe through the magnification of quantum fluctuations. About 10-30 Seconds after the Big Bang, inflation was over and the universe was falling back into standard expansion. It was an impressive one meter in diameter - so there was still enough time to repair the botch.

Had the Demiurge accidentally pressed the wrong button? Or knocked over the coffee cup and "caffeinated" his keyboard?

The acceleration of the expansion of the universe, for which a puzzling and up to now absolutely fictitious "dark energy" is blamed in a very inelegant way, could be the result of a botched emulation program or a user error. It is well known that in 99.999% of all cases the cause of computer problems is in front of the monitor ...

Or the contradiction in baryogenesis: In the Big Bang, matter and antimatter should have been created in equal parts and immediately destroy each other - it definitely did not happen. So was there more matter? Or do both differ not only in the sign, but also in other parameters? Either way, the demiurge was not having a particularly good day when he wrote the code. Because if he had wanted it differently, it would have been superfluous to incorporate antimatter into the concept. On the other hand, deliberately breaking symmetry does not make sense. Demiurges are just human too ...

It is very puzzling, downright mysterious Strong force (Color strength) that works between the quarks. While all other forces decrease with distance, this increases gluonic force with distance, behaves like a rubber band. The quantum physicists only state this without explaining it. But without this unusual property, no stable nucleons could exist - that looks like a cleverly thought out concept. The demiurge once had a really good idea - but it's a shame that everything looks pretty eclectic in the overall view.

However, there are a number of indications that the demiurge created the universe especially for us humans - we should generously forgive him for the small carelessness and improvisations.

The anthropic principle: everything made just for us?

It is the extremely suspicious coincidences that some scientists and philosophers - theologians anyway - take as evidence that the universe was created - and especially for us!

Coincidences are mutually occurring, coordinated facts. And it is really amazing how incredibly finely adjusted natural constants and other parameters are to enable a life-friendly universe!

And as for the constants in particular: These are quantities that cannot be calculated from formulas and equations, but can only be measured! They do not result from provable laws, but are simply what they are. Or how made ...

Without these cosmic coincidences, the universe would be a dead and empty desert. Professor Henning Genz, who has made a name for himself not only as a theoretical physicist but also as an author, writes:

We know that the oasis of the values ​​of the natural constants that make our life possible is surrounded by a desert of values ​​that do not.

Many cosmologists and philosophers do not want to believe that this oasis was created by chance, because, if there were only this one universe, it would have to be a true miracle that such an unlikely system of precisely coordinated parameters would arise. This is why the teleological (not theological!) Transcendence theory also has a certain probability.

Teleological-transcendent means: The purpose-oriented order of the world is established by a purposeful world force. We have agreed to call this force Demiurge.

One way out of the dilemma of the anthropic principle are the theories that the universe is one of many in a higher dimensional one Multiverse consider. Leonard Susskind, one of the fathers of string theory, has calculated that there are up to 10500 Can give vacuum conditions. In plain language: 10500 Universes with different natural constants and laws! In view of this huge number, even the smallest probability is realized, and one can state that we live in a life-friendly universe precisely because the almost infinite number of differentiated vacuum states also contains this special universe that gave birth to life. And there is nothing mystical about it. This explanation is called that weak anthropic principle.

The problem is, all the experiments we can do do not provide the slightest clue to the existence of additional dimensions, and string theory has so far been a pure, unprovable headbirth.

So let's turn to that again strong anthropic principle to.

Here is a small selection of the "fine tunings" and their meanings:

Number of space and time dimensions - planetary and electron orbits would be unstable if they were larger or smaller.

Entropy after the Big Bang - if it weren't for that inexplicable had been small, the universe would not have been able to form complex structures.

The strong force - if it were only 0.5% larger or smaller, the stars could only be carbon or Form oxygen - but not both. If there were deviations in the single-digit percentage range, there would be no stars. A change in the electromagnetic force of 4% would have a similar effect (fine structure constant!)

The weak force - if it were slightly larger or smaller, there would be no heavy elements

Gravitation - the slightest deviation would have either caused the universe to collapse long ago or caused such rapid expansion that sun-like stars could hardly be older than a million years

Mass difference between the nucleons - the slightest deviations would lead to only protons or only neutrons (decay processes)

So far, 37 natural constants are known, the fine-tuning of which ensures the order of our universe, and the impression that there is an organizing hand unsettles even one or the other Nobel Prize winner enough to be the subject of very serious discussions.

However, the theory that the world is a simulation can neither be proven nor refuted.

Or a universe from the particle accelerator?

For the sake of completeness, reference should be made to a hypothesis by Andrei Linde. In an article he describes how a black mini-hole could be created in the laboratory and made to expand exponentially. From this a daughter universe with its own spacetime would be formed, which would immediately "cut itself off" from the mother universe. It would be just as invisible and inaccessible to us as another universe in the multiverse.

Nevertheless there is a possibility to give him a message for his future residents to take along! Not in the form of any kind of structure or information, because any information would be destroyed in the expansion process - but if the message is encoded in the properties of the vacuum state, it is retained!

Did the Demiurge leave us such a message?

Linde says: "Is that the reason why we have to work so hard to understand the strange and imperfect properties of our world? Does that mean, perhaps, that our universe created has been? But not from God, but from a physicist? If that's true, the result shows that he had a tough job. Hopefully he didn't make too many mistakes ... "

Isn't that a nice final word?


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