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To understand quantum mechanics is to understand that 
there is a central mystery in physics.

Physics generally, and quantum mechanics in particular, is so odd that it screams philosophy.  "Counter-intuitive" is the usual description of the laboratory results, which means that the world behaves in ways that we would not expect, and that, frankly, don't make sense.  Confronted with real results that appear to contradict our assumptions, we are burdened with the task of reevaluating our assumptions.  That is philosophy, is it not?

    These pages attempt, first, to report the laboratory results.  Nevermind that they don't make any intuitive sense.  Those are the results.  You should know how nature behaves.  Second, we attempt to make sense of the results -- cavalierly disregarding the advice of many a learned sage counseling that we would do better just to forget about it.  The focus is on information, as has been recommended by many physicists.  The conclusion here is that the universe is both information and information processing.  The universe is the manifestation of a computer and its programming. 

If the universe is a computer running along conventional programming lines, then who are we?  And who programmed this virtual reality simulation?  And why?  That is philosophy, certainly.  And it is religion.  And it is still science. 


Featured Articles                                                                                                      Resources

                  Reality Program

The Reality Program
[No Frames version]

A primer on looking at quantum physics from the cybernetic point of view. This is for liberal arts majors. Mostly concepts, no technical jargon, good illustrations.

"In more than 30 years of reading about quantum mechanics, 
your presentation is the most lucid I have yet found."

"For the first time these things became clear to me."

Real World Demonstration of Pilot Wave Dynamics?
I hadn't thought it possible, but here is a fascinating result, as reported in Quanta Magazine.
Bouncing droplet

2016 Asimov Memorial Debate

Further discussion on the topic "Is The
                  Universe A Simulation?"
Further discussion on the topic "Is the universe a simulation?" With Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Lisa Randall, James Gates, Max Tegmark, David Chalmers, Zohreh Davoudi

2011 Asimov Memorial Debate

[at 1:02:26]
Neil deGrasse Tyson: So you're saying as you dig deeper, you find computer code writ in the fabric of the cosmos. 
James Gates: Into the equations that we want to use to describe the cosmos, yes.
       Pertinent transcript excerpts here.

Prof. Gates elaborates in Symbols of Power, Physics World vol. 23 no. 6 (June 2010) 34-39.
reprinted here by permission.


"...the point is not that a mathematical structure describes a universe, but that it is a universe."

- Max Tegmark
"Mathematical cosmos: Reality by numbers.
2621 New Scientist, 14 September 2007



Reference Material, including  links to Recommended Reading.

This page now features direct links to further reading in physics and computers for liberal arts majors. Topics include physics (digital and otherwise), and faith.

Recently added works by Karl Svozil.
Computational Universes by Karl Svozil.

Do we live in a computer simulation? Univ.Wash. researchers say idea can be tested.
"[T]he UW team has suggested tests that can be performed now, or in the near future, that are sensitive to constraints imposed on future simulations by limited resources."

New York Times 14-Aug-2007:
Our Lives, Controlled from Some Guy's Couch

John Tierney reports on Nick Bostrom's concept of living in a computer simulation.

Wired magazine:
December 2002 issue on theme of Science and Religion [Issue 10.12]

God is the Machine  Excellent survey of Fredkin/Wolfram/Zuse thinking.
The New Convergence  Excellent survey of intrusion of metaphysics into science, refusal of religion to fade.  

Did the Universe Just Happen? Recently posted by The Atlantic, this is the seminal interview with Fredkin by Robert Wright (1988).

Technical Papers of Interest.   
For those of you from Missouri -- "show me."  Although the BottomLayer has been designed for the generalist, many of you have been interested enough to feel an urge to go to the data.  I commend the impulse, and so I will be posting papers that have struck my fancy.

Book Review:
Rocks of Ages

Stephen Jay Gould (MHRIP)
    More than a book review, this essay reveals the impulse.  It is really a sermon and a testimony.

Books Review:
A World With A View

The Dancing Wu Li Masters
Gary Zukav
The Cosmic Code
Heinz Pagels
Quantum Reality  
Nick Herbert

A review of three book-length surveys of quantum reality.

Guest Columnist:
John Deutsch

I. Relationships Among Phenomena at a Unitary Level (The Hierarchy of Time and the Golden Ratio in h )
Intriguing mathematical relationships appear when one "quantizes" the basic units of time, space, energy and mass.  h, the quantum of action, may not be fundamental, but a composite of two deeper quantities related to each other by the Golden Ratio.

II. Calculating the neutrino mass
Mr. Deutsch derives a hypothetical mass for the neutrino.

Video Presentation of Double Slit Experiments
The legendary Trinity lecture on the double slit experiment, now formatted for streaming video.  Targeted for lay audiences, this presentation begins with simple wave mechanics and simple particle mechanics, then proceeds to demonstrate the laboratory results obtained when quantum units traverse a barrier with two slits.  "[The double slit experiment] has in it the heart of quantum mechanics.  In reality, it contains the only mystery."  - R.P. Feynman.

Video on youtube

Thou shalt
                  click here.

A Cybernetic Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
HTML Frames   - or -   HTML No Frames   -or-    PDF File
Evidence and arguments for the proposition that our universe is not a physical, material world but a computer-generated simulation -- a kind of virtual reality.  This essay is a condensation of the material presented in "The Reality Program."  Good place to start for an overview.

Commentary on Roger Banks' proof of universal computation in 2-state, 5-neighborhood cellular automata
How can a collection of independent robots do anything useful?  This essay takes you through the basics of how to build a computer, and then describes how Edward Fredkin's student, Roger Banks, was able to build one out of pure information!  This is the proof that Fredkin cites to show that a CA universe can do anything that digital physics can do. 

Bonus!  Read Banks' original thesis in PDF (about 4 MB download).

Finite Nature

Commentary on the Finite Nature hypothesis of Edward Fredkin
Finite Nature - that all phenomena of the natural world are discrete rather than continuous - and the implication that the physics of the natural world is the product of computation run on a computer.

"Quite interesting."  - Ed F.


Wheeler's Basic Delayed Choice Experiment
The experimenter's choice of how to measure determines the result.  Even after the result should have been fixed.  Well, how does that work?

                  choice quantum eraser

Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser Commentary
We take you step-by-step through a remarkable demonstration of quantum weirdness.  When is a thing a thing?  This is what happens in the laboratory.

"I do not think that there is anything wrong with your explanation."
- Yoon-Ho Kim
"Absolutely the best explanation I've ever read."
- Steven M., Melbourne, Australia


An Inquiry Into Consciousness
This seems to be the heart of the matter.  Can sufficient quantity effect a transformation of quality?  Here we begin an investigation.

The program and the user

The Program and the User
Without a user, how is one to distinguish a computer from a stone?

A Quantum Dialog

A Quantum Dialog
A Socratic examination of some basic quantum phenomena, and the conclusions that can be drawn from the evidence.

Karl Svozil

A Different Take on Creation:  Karl Svozil's Digital Dualism
from Science & Theology News, June 2003

"One obvious explanation for what [physicist Eugene] Wigner calls 'the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences,'" suggests Svozil, "seems to be the Pythagorean assumption that numbers are the elements out of which the universe was constructed; and what appears to us as the laws of Nature are just mathematical theorems or computations."

DP and Me

Digital Physics and Me [pdf] [html]
This essay sets out the reasons I find Digital Physics so appealing -- with its hypothesis that the universe is a cellular automata computer simulation. 

Comment and Response from reviewers.  

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