1.2.6. The end of science?
If it turned out that we do live in a virtual reality, would that mean the end of science? Suppose some NPCs in The Sims started to wonder if their world was virtual? They could test that theory against the data of their world just as we can. If they found they lived in a non-continuous world of pixels, that their time and space could expand and contract, and that everything in their world began at a specific moment in the past, they might conclude it was true. They couldn’t perceive the processing behind their world but they could conceive it, as we now do. So science would go on as already quantum theory is based on quantum states that are patently not physical at all, but it is still science. To study a reality, science only requires feedback from it, so the physical world as an interface to reality is enough to test theories.
Quantum realism proposes that we occupy a local reality, one that seems real to its inhabitants but is actually within another reality that generates it. This is in contrast to an objective reality that exists in and of itself and is not contained by anything. A local reality is real from within but not from without, e.g. Monopoly money is unreal outside the game but in the game, it affects what you can buy. In general, pixels are real to pixels because they are of the same nature. In the same way the earth is “solid” to us, who are made of earthy stuff but to a speeding neutrino from the sun our whole planet is just a ghostly shadow through which it flies. In this view, the physical world is real to our physical bodies but the observer exists outside it.