Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Your friendly neighborhood blogger is always perusing the internet for science-related news. Given that fact, it did not go unnoticed that two stories pushing the idea that reality is all an illusion gained widespread media attention over the past month.

The first piece came when Neil DeGrasse Tyson said it was “very likely” humans are living in a simulation. The second story involved Princeton University scientists who think free will may just be a trick the brain plays to rewrite history. None of this would be very fascinating if it weren’t for the fact that Morepheus DeGrasse Tyson and his atheist followers take pot shots at Christians on a regular basis.

Extreme Tech reported April 22:

“At the most recent Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, recently held at New York’s Hayden Planetarium, scientists gathered to address the question for the year: Is the universe a computer simulation? It’s an older question that you might imagine, and if we interpret it a bit more broadly then it’s really one of the oldest questions imaginable: How do we know that reality is reality? And, if our universe were a big, elaborate lie, could we ever devise some test to prove that fact? At the debate, host and celebrity astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson argued that the probability is that we [‘very likely’] live in a computer simulation.”

The U.K. Independent reported Sunday:

Free will might be an illusion created by our brains, scientists might have proved.

Humans are convinced that they make conscious choices as they live their lives. But instead it may be that the brain just convinces itself that it made a free choice from the available options after the decision is made.

The idea was tested out by tricking subjects into believing that they had made a choice before the consequences of that choice could actually be seen. In the test, people were made to believe that they had taken a decision using free will – even though that was impossible. …

In one of the studies undertaken by Adam Bear and Paul Bloom, of Princeton University, the test subjects were shown five white circles on a computer monitor. They were told to choose one of the circles before one of them lit up red.

The participants were then asked to describe whether they’d picked the correct circle, another one, or if they hadn’t had time to actually pick one.

Statistically, people should have picked the right circle about one out of every five times. But they reported getting it right much more than 20 per cent of the time, going over 30 per cent if the circle turned red very quickly.

The scientists suggest that the findings show that the test subjects’ minds were swapping around the order of events, so that it appeared that they had chosen the right circle – even if they hadn’t actually had time to do so.

Is it more likely scientists “proved” free will is an illusion, or that they reestablished people are capable of lying?

Is it more likely scientists “proved” free will is an illusion, or that they reestablished the human brain is a beautiful box of paradoxes?

The human brain is incredibly sturdy, yet fragile. It is awe-inspiring in its complexity, yet ultimately a sponge-like mass of neurons, blood vessels, and tissue. It can turn science fiction into reality, yet it often falls for “tricks” played by researchers in white lab coats. The list goes on and on.

Matrix

Imagine what the world would look like if billions of people simultaneously listened to Morepheus DeGrasse Tyson and researchers at the University of Free Will Is Just an Illusion. Tyson likes to lump “crazy” Christianity in with Scientology, but my guess is that he would soon yearn for a world solely populated by “cracker”-eating Catholics if 7 billion people concluded a.) they were living in a glorified video game, and b.) they did not need to take responsibility for their actions.

Regardless, men of faith should smile. DeGrasse Tyson’s acknowledgment that humans “very likely” have a Creator will prompt some of his supporters down a spiritual path in the years ahead.

Advertisements

About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

16 comments

    1. “Great article. Tyson often deletes my tweets.”

      Thanks. I don’t think I have ever tweeted at him, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he liberally uses the “block” and “mute” options. One would think that a guy whose stock in trade is snarky comments would be able to handle some push-back.

    2. I think of it like the current state of our media. They filter truth out because the truth silences falsehood.

      Tyson is friends with Dawkins. Dawkins won’t debate Dr. Lennox after getting pounded by him twice.

      Hitchens conceded defeat to Lennox on YouTube. John Lennox is a Christian.

    3. “Hitchens conceded defeat to Lennox on YouTube. John Lennox is a Christian.”

      Thanks for sharing. I’ll have to look that up. I used to love watching the old debates between Hitchens and D’Souza.

  1. It’s really a shame that some of this science is being used in attempt to dismiss God or to mock and ridicule faith because the brain is really fascinating and the idea that we are living in a hologram is nothing new. “Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream,” or as the bible tells us, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” Men have been questioning the nature of our existence and the nature of reality since forever. There’s been some interesting studies that suggest we are all trapped in subjective reality, orbiting our own little planets, and that the reason our brains are so big is that they act like filters, keeping us blind to objective reality, what could be called the supernatural, not unlike being stuck in the Matrix.

    Something I find especially funny about the Tyson’s of the world and assorted other nihilists and atheists is that logic and reason will lead you to prove your own non existence long before you can disprove God. The problem being once you reason your own self into non existence, the entire point becomes mute since you don’t exist anymore. An inanimate object, a table lamp, cannot debate the nature of its own existence, since it isn’t even sentient or self aware.

    One of my favorite pastors has explained freewill and predestination in simple terms, as us being like fish in an aquarium. We totally have freewill….. within the aquarium walls. There are still boundaries, limitations, even though they may seem invisible to us.

    1. “It’s really a shame that some of this science is being used in attempt to dismiss God or to mock and ridicule faith because the brain is really fascinating and the idea that we are living in a hologram is nothing new.”

      I just find it rather humorous (and sad) to see the extent someone like DeGrasse Tyson will go to deny God. He’s comfortable saying it’s “very likely” that aliens created an elaborate simulator that includes us, but thinks it’s “crazy” to look at all the evidence of Christ’s life and conclude He was exactly who He claimed to be.

      The atheist and the Christian both rely on faith. I look at the evidence and have faith that God is real. The atheist looks at the evidence and essentially puts “faith” in the accuracy of his non-belief. The more I learn about science, the stronger my faith becomes. DeGrasse Tyson’s simulation theory, whether he wants to admit it or not, is one step away from saying, “Ummm, hey guys…those New Age dudes may have been onto something.”

      Once there is a debate between New Age rhetoric (i.e., We’re all just part of some cosmic consciousness soup that bubbles up and simmers down for eternity), and Christianity, I think that is a debate well-read Christians would welcome.

  2. It is always interesting that the men of science try to deny God.

    History shows us what happens when the men of “science” deny God, just look at Germany and Russia of the last century. This was “science” being used to justify and create a “new” man.

    While I am not overly religious, I do consider myself a Christian. I think there is another way to look at these pronouncements and other events that are taking place in this world. This is the influence of the devil or Satan in our world. It is not a theory that I have fully explored, but I do believe that is a factor in our world a force that tries to seduce us away from God.

    1. You would scientifically need to find the “glitch in the Matrix.” My guess is that it would involve having a much firmer grasp of quantum physics than humans currently possess.

      You could also get philosophical and make a case based on logic and reason that simply stumped all critics.

    2. First I would build a scientific consensus. I would get NDT to tweet it and every actor, failed engineer, politician and college tart will re-tweet it…forming a consensus of scientists.

      Than I would run simulations of real life and tell people how accurate my models are. I would also make a hockey stick graph that explains how we are getting closer to being a simulation even though we already are.

      I would modify the simulations to give me the results I want, than aggressively attack anyone that questions my methodology has stupid-pants.

      After a while, I’d get teachers and professors to push the idea that if we don’t believe that we live in a simulation created by aliens, that we will surely die. I would carefully explain how all the anthropomorphic animals in the cartoons they grew up on are in eminent danger from right-wing republicans, like My Little Pony, Big Bird and Snuffaluffagus.

      Eventually I would criminalize not believing in the computer simulation of life has a capital offense, after all, your lack of belief will lead to the deaths of billions. This should remove any doubt from the survivors.

    3. You should probably turn your post into a scathing bit of satire, Chuck. 🙂 It appears as though you have a little bit of Jonathan Swift in you. Be thankful that you don’t look like him, though. Haha.

  3. Pretty sure if I was in the Matrix, everyone I know would be talking in flowery prose about philosophy and all my cases of deja vu would only involve a cat. But if we are in the Matrix, I’d like to thank the robot overlords for programming Tyson into being a laughable self-parody.

  4. Just to be clear, the Matrix is the most spiritual movie ever made. It is a story of a man’s journey from the “sleeping ” state of consciousness to one of transcendent Buddha consciousness. Thomas Anderson is literally awoken and spiritually awoken — born again. His journey culminates in the experience of the oneness of all things, which allows him to transcend death (his own resurrection) and fear (“I’m not afraid anymore…now wake up…”). I could go on.

    1. The first Matrix is amazing. In fact, I think it may have been the first movie where my jaw dropped and after about 10 seconds I realized my mouth was open. People take its special effects for granted these days, but that first scene collectively blew millions of minds in 1999.

      I also agree with you that the movie is spiritual. That is why I wrote this post — Tyson will latch onto an idea that is incredibly spiritual while still mocking Christianity and people of faith in general. I suppose he would argue that the “simulation creators” are just aliens in the the one real reality that exists … that always existed just because. As the obvious presence of God closes in, for some people it then becomes time to start running again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s