[caption id="attachment_4073" align="alignleft" width="266"] Iconic scene from "The Matrix", highlighting the Digital Age coming of age and the ascendance of Virtual Reality (VR) possibilities[/caption] This article is a “reblog” of a piece that recently appeared on Anthony Watts’ Climate Skeptic’s Blog, “Watts Up With That”. The article compares 4 propositions, initially asking the reader to determine which are based on conjecture and which one is supported by science and observational evidence. At the end of the piece, the guest blogger, Eric Worrall, declares that proposition number four is the only one supported by the preponderance of observational evidence. By way of suggesting that the second proposition, “The buildup of anthropogenic carbon dioxide may lead to dangerous climate change”, is conjecture, they deny the science and the clear and unequivocal observational evidence, cited in my most recent piece: What Will Become of Us? The comments made by Elon Musk at the 2016 ReCode Conference, held this year in Southern California, affirms and confirms the basic premise of my most recent piece. As well, I’m not sure what the root cause for all of it is but I suspect that much of it stems from access to the internet, where every loon with an internet connection and a personal computer can post their nonsense for all the world to read. My remarks regarding the salient points in the piece follow below.
I read the full piece on Breitbart and watched the full interview with Elon. If by way of suggesting that his idea is more or less an aberration or a quirky aspect of Elon’s personality, an attempt is made to impugn the character of a forward thinking visionary and entrepreneur, then the full context of his remarks is required. Before I present my remarks let me just say, I believe Elon Musk to have a genius-level IQ and am a big fan but on this particular point, his brain has taken a walk off the map. One has to wonder, in listening to him as he discusses near-term missions to Mars, orbital dynamics, commercial space flight and “multi-planet” habitation within our solar system for the human race, how does this VR world fit in to all of that and when (or where) does his brain take him down this path of fantasy? As well, many techies tend to look at the world in terms of a computer interface and tend to lose perspective and I would suggest that many in attendance at that conference were such people, hence the inane question by that attendee. A couple of points and comments, if I may: 1) Trying to debate anyone on this point when they obviously are not going to be persuaded would be the same as debating a FlatEarth-er, trying to convince them that they are completely out of touch with reality and that the Earth really is a big spinning ball in space; it would be impossible. Just a one-off question to Elon or anyone else contemplating this, how long has this VR game been running? Maybe 4.5 billion years, since the sun's and our solar system’s formation, or maybe back to the beginning of the universe, 13.8 billion years ago? When did “they” transition “us” to a VR universe? Here’s one that ties two of the four propositions in the article together, is the Chicxulub asteroid, the one that played a major role in the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago (proposition #4), part of the simulation? Someone, or maybe the entire crowd at that tech conference, has played one too many computer games. Full stop! There is a 100% probability that we are living in base reality! We are NOT part of some advanced VR world setup by aliens. The notion that the universe we live in is too terrible and thus, we must be part of a VR universe is a complete non sequitur, no offense intended to Elon Musk; Elon, on this one, you really missed the mark. Since when does our well being and safety have anything to do with the reality of “where” we live, in this case on a small planet in orbit around a not-so-common star – nature has no conscience and is quite cruel. As Neil deGrasse Tyson has said on occasion “The Universe is trying to kill us”. We do live in a hostile universe and are, as a race and a species, quickly approaching the point when the confluence of certain events will determine whether we make it to the turn of the next millennium, if we’re not eradicated by one or more existential threats or by our own stupidity. Regarding the lack of any evidence supporting the notion that we are not alone in the universe, I discuss that in my most recent article and quote a section of it here:
“As a race and as a species we will not survive the next 100 years if we continue on the path we’re on, let alone until the turn of the next millennium. We will not make it to Mars and will go the way many suspect any civilization goes whose technical progress outpaces their moral growth. The famous physicist Enrico Fermi, famous for his “Fermi’s Paradox”, openly wondered why, given the age of the Milky Way, since the galaxy may be teeming with habitable planets, why we see no real evidence of an advanced galactic society. Where are they? If we continue on the path we’re on, we may have our answer sooner, rather than later.”2) The characterization of proposition 2 as “conjecture”; again, the assertion that this is conjecture is not the reality according to many scientists who consider AGW to be settled science, myself included. With Carbon emissions being the highest since the demise of the dinosaurs, Climate Change remains one of the greatest existential threats to life on this planet that humanity has ever faced. 3) The first part of Proposition 3 (“We have already been visited by aliens, who most likely continue to monitor us”) is complete nonsense and isn’t even in the realm of conjecture. Regarding this statement: “The alternative is to believe the preposterous proposition that we are the only intelligent life inhabiting any of the planets circling our galaxy’s 100 billion stars”, actually, its not; see my comments above regarding Fermi’s Paradox. The second part of Proposition 3 has already begun with $100 M in seed funding (from Yuri Milner) and will soon begin development. See “Breakthrough Starshot” or my recent piece, "Going to the Stars, Riding on a Beam of light". 4) Proposition 4 remains an existential threat.
Imagination is more important than knowledge An index of all articles in this blog can be found here.