QR1.3.2. A Prima Facie Case

How do physicists know that our physical world isn’t virtual? Stephen Hawking explains:

But maybe we are all linked in to a giant computer simulation that sends a signal of pain when we send a motor signal to swing an imaginary foot at an imaginary stone. Maybe we are characters in a computer game played by aliens.” in (Vacca, 2005) p131

He seems open to virtualism but the next sentence is “Joking apart…”. Virtualism is a joke among the physics elite but given that physics can’t explain dark energy or dark matter that make up over 90% of the mass of the universe, from whence comes this certainty? The reality of the physical world is taken as a fact but in logic it is just an assumption and in science it is just a theory.

The discussion of virtualism in academic circles is intellectually weak. In the 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate “Is the Universe a Simulation?“, experts attack the naïve virtualism of a science fiction movie (The Matrix) but ignore the current status of quantum theory, which states that quantum waves acting in physically impossible ways create physical events when they are observed. All the evidence says this description is true but the possibility that quantum waves are real isn’t addressed at all. Instead of taking the opportunity to critically review current physics, they attack a straw man, a fantasy movie with no academic credentials.

In an objective reality time doesn’t dilate, space doesn’t bend, objects don’t teleport, empty space is empty and universes don’t pop up out of nowhere. No-one would doubt that the physical world was objectively real, if only it behaved so. The previous facts are the sort of circumstantial evidence that a court would accept as warranting further investigation. There is clearly a case worth looking at but first, let us consider some implications of quantum realism.