Through The Wormhole Episode Scripts

N/A - Is There a Creator?

FREEMAN: Colossal beauty.
Awe-inspiring intricacy.
Are the wonders of our universe a cosmic accident or the result of intelligent design? For centuries, religion and science were bitter foes.
Now science actively searches for our creator.
Some physicists think he's hidden in the math.
Neurologists think she might be in our brains.
And computer coders believe God is one of them and that our world is nothing more than his simulation.
Space, time, life itself.
The secrets of the cosmos lie through the wormhole.
Every culture claims a God, an all-powerful entity that created the world and directs our fate.
But why do we share this belief in a cosmic creator? Did we dream it up to serve a need in our psyche or culture? Is God really out there? Up there? This is a journey into the science of God.
I promise you, it's quite a trip.
Some of what we'll find almost defies belief.
Sometime in the early '70s, I bought my daughter an ant farm.
She soon got bored, but not me.
I was memorized by this little menagerie squeezed between two panes of glass.
And I wondered, what could they ever know about me, the one who built their world? What can we ever learn about who or what created us, stranded as we are in this colony of humanity? For as long as scientists have struggled to understand our place in the universe, there have been those who've hoped to get a glimpse of God.
astronomer Galileo Galilei had a groundbreaking insight.
Nature's grand book is written in the language of mathematics.
From that time to this, scientific geniuses like Newton and Einstein used math to dig deep into the workings of nature, to search for God through the equations that defined the laws of physics.
The latest mind hoping to join these illustrious ranks is Garrett Lisi.
LISl: The universe can very successfully be described mathematically.
You have to imagine how the world's working in a certain circumstance and then use reason and mathematics to develop a description of how that might be happening.
But it's imagination that breaks the trail before reason enters.
FREEMAN: After earning his PhD, Garrett escaped the confines of academia in search of adventure and a space in which to think.
LISl: Rather than go into a normal academic-track job, I just split off for Maui, became a surf bum, and did the research I wanted to.
Mostly spent time doing physics research and surfing.
FREEMAN: But all of our attempts to understand nature so far have been fragmentary.
There's one set of rules for tiny atoms, another for giant objects like stars and galaxies.
And the two sets of math don't fit together.
What physicists like Lisi seek is a single, overarching theory, a mathematical design that explains everything.
Garrett thinks he may at last have found this theory of everything.
And if he's right, God could be one heck of a mathematician.
Garrett's work is at a leading edge of physics.
Before we plunge into this mind-bending math, we first need to back up a bit.
Because it's possible there's already evidence for a creator in the math.
Andy Albrecht is a leading cosmologist.
Hello.
How are you? FREEMAN: He's also a renowned chocoholic.
I'll have the chocolate souffle and a latte.
FREEMAN: Just as a perfect chocolate souffle relies on a precise mixture of ingredients baked at a specific temperature for an exact time, so our universe looks the way it does because of a precise balance between four fundamental forces.
The four forces we know and love in the world around us are gravity, electromagnetism those you've probably heard of then there's also the weak force and the strong force.
They're a little bit more specialized but absolutely essential to make the world work the way it does.
Gravity, in many ways, is the force we know first.
We try to walk, and we fall down.
That's because of gravity.
When you carry something a little too heavy and it falls, it's because of gravity.
Electromagnetism tells us how the chemistry works.
When you cook something, the energy you use is ultimately electromagnetic energy.
Weak force is about a billion times less strong than electromagnetism.
And it's responsible for radioactivity.
The potassium in a banana is radioactive.
If the rate were too high, it could destroy us.
The sun is basically a nuclear reactor.
The strong forces release energy in the nuclear reactions.
One of the remarkable things is, when you add it all up, all these forces have to be exactly the way they are for life as we know it to exist.
Change any one of them, dial the parameters, and something will go wrong.
The planet will disappear.
The sun will shut down.
The DNA will come unraveled.
Some people call it the Goldilocks paradigm not too much, not too little, everything's just right.
Oh, that's perfect.
FREEMAN: Some physicists believe this precise calibration of forces is evidence of God.
Dr.
John Polkinghorne did pioneering work on the quark, a fundamental subatomic particle.
He is also a knight commander of the British Empire, a sir.
And after a lifetime of distinguished scientific inquiry, he was inspired to follow a new line of work as a priest.
I do indeed believe in God, yes, indeed.
Yes, in fact, I'm an Anglican priest, so it would be rather shocking if I didn't.
Those four fundamental forces are the portfolio of things that bring about the physical processes of the world.
And a very interesting fact about the world is that those forces, in their specific strengths that they have, have to be very close to what we actually observe if we were to be here to observe them, because it turns out that only a world whose forces are very similar to the ones that we experience would be capable of producing carbon-based life.
FREEMAN: John finds it difficult to imagine that the fine-tuning of our universe has happened by accident, that there is no divine hand behind it.
POLKINGHORNE: This fine-tuning makes it clear we don't live in any old world.
We live in a very particular universe.
And why is that? Why are we so lucky? Of course, religious belief offers you a very straightforward and attractive explanation.
FREEMAN: But scientists are split over whether this balance of forces is a sign of intelligent design.
In fact, it could be nothing more than a roll of the cosmic dice.
Dr.
Alan Guth is a revered figure in cosmology.
His theory of inflation is the accepted idea of how the early universe formed.
Inflation says that right after the big bang, the universe expanded phenomenally fast, doubling in size 100,000 times in just a fraction of a second.
Inflation helps explain how the world we know could have come into existence.
But inflation has another head-spinning implication.
There ought to be more than one universe.
An important feature of this process of inflation is that when inflation stops, it doesn't stop all over at the same time.
What tends to happen is it stops in some places, and those then become universes.
And elsewhere, in what we now call a multiverse, inflation would go on, and only later, more pocket universes would form.
And there can be an infinite number of these pocket universes formed altogether by this process that we call eternal inflation.
The point is that if there really is a multiverse, we would be living in just one of these many pocket universes.
That could be, for example, our universe right there.
Each of these pocket universes could have different laws of physics.
FREEMAN: In our universe, the four forces are aligned in a perfect way.
Together, they allow life to coalesce and flourish.
But each pocket universe in Alan's multiverse could have a completely different balance of forces.
Maybe electromagnetism is weaker, and perhaps gravity is way more powerful.
The result an entirely different universe with no chance of human life.
To Alan, our universe is not carefully crafted by a divine being.
It's just a lucky roll in a cosmic crap shoot.
The precision and complexity of our world is enough to make even the sanest cosmologist go just a little bit crazy.
How does it all fit together? Is there a single, overarching design to the cosmos? And if we find it, will we glimpse the mind of God? Scientists have spent decades and billions of dollars on this quest.
They've build giant atom-smashing machines to probe how the four fundamental forces actually work.
They've found that down at the microscopic level, billions of times smaller than atoms, forces are actually caused by the movement of tiny particles.
Electromagnetism is carried by photons.
The strong force is carried by particles called gluons, the weak force by particles called the "W" and "Z" bosons.
But they've never found the force carriers for gravity, the elusive gravitons.
And that's where their efforts to unify the math of the universe are stuck treading water.
But renegade physicist and compulsive surfer Garrett Lisi could be on the cusp of succeeding.
LISl: Right after people got the idea that there were these electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces, which was towards the end of the '70s, almost immediately people saw how they fit together to make a grand unified theory unifying those three forces.
Now, it's much trickier to try to bring gravity into the picture because it's slightly different.
FREEMAN: "Tricky" is an understatement.
The greatest minds in physics have all but given up on unifying gravity and its unseen gravitons with the other three forces.
But then Garrett had a vision, a vision of twisted circles.
I was working on just how this whole algebraic structure fit together, of gravity and the other forces, and I started to wonder if this thing could be understood as a whole, if this entire structure could be described as part of some larger Lie group.
A Lie group is a mathematical shape that is a collection of circles twisting around each other in a specific pattern.
Now, the simplest Lie group is just a circle.
Now, if you take a second circle and you wrap it around that inner circle, keeping it perpendicular, you get what's called a torus.
It looks like the surface of a doughnut.
But if you take a third circle and keep that perpendicular to the other two, and you twist it around the inner circle as you wrap it around, you can get all three of those circles to twist around each other to form a three-dimensional shape.
FREEMAN: But this is only the beginning.
Garrett kept on twisting circles around one another until he'd done it 248 times.
The end result is a shape so complex that it can't even be fully appreciated in three dimensions.
It's called the E8 Lie group.
To us, it's just a mind-bending pattern.
But Garrett Lisi realized the way the circles twisted around one another looked just like the way various fundamental particles interact.
In physics, each one of these circles can be associated with a different kind of elementary particle.
One circle could correspond to electrons.
The other circles could correspond to the force particles, such as photons or weak-force particles or strong-force particles, the gluons.
FREEMAN: For months, Garrett turned this kaleidoscope over and over in his mind.
And then it hit him.
He found a set of circles that seemed to act like the never-yet-seen graviton.
And for the first time in the history of physics, a mere mortal saw how gravity might fit in with all the other forces and particles.
You know, seeing how gravity could be combined with these other Lie groups during this unification was one of the greatest moments of my life.
FREEMAN: Dr.
Lee Smolin is a world-renowned physicist.
He's watching with keen interest as Lisi struggles with his attempt to put all the forces of nature into a single mathematical framework.
SMOLIN: My view of Garrett Lisi's work is that he's doing something which is very high risk, high payoff.
If he's right or if even something in the direction that he's going down is right, it's very important because it's a kind of hypothesis that most of us have given up working for that is, a unique unification within a beautiful mathematical structure.
FREEMAN: Garrett calls this dizzying geometrical relationship between all the particles and forces in the universe an exceptionally simple theory of everything.
It predicts several as yet undiscovered particles.
And scientists across the world are on the hunt for those right now.
One is the most sought-after particle in all of physics, the Higgs boson.
LISl: There are some parts that are in this larger group that are not clearly these elementary particle forces.
But what they are is exactly what you need to describe the Higgs field.
And the Higgs field is this geometric particle field that gives masses to all known elementary particles.
And it's exactly the missing puzzle piece you need to tie everything together.
FREEMAN: The center of the action in the Higgs hunt is halfway around the world from Garrett's beaches.
In the cooler but no less scenic city of Geneva, Switzerland, researchers are peering through the most advanced scientific microscope in human history the LHC, or Large Hadron Collider.
They're throwing everything they have at finding the Higgs boson, the particle that is supposed to give everything mass.
But they should also be able to detect some of those new particles predicted by Garrett Lisi.
If they do exist, the exceptionally simple theory of everything could finally offer a blueprint of the entire universe.
This dizzying geometry might also be divine geometry, a unified math that created you, me, the sun, the stars, everything in the known universe.
It would be another important factor showing us that we live in a world of wonderful order, and that is highly suggestive that that is because it is a creation with a divine mind behind it.
FREEMAN: The irony is that the man who's taking us so close to the creator is not himself a believer.
LISl: It's much more satisfying to me that this bit of geometry could have come into existence than to imagine some complicated creator with some sort of personality and complex structure brought this simple thing into existence.
FREEMAN: Garrett's mind-bending search could be getting closer.
Or it could all be a bust.
SMOLIN: There's a process of give and take, of construction and criticism, that makes science work.
And it depends on courage and audacity to get started.
And a thing that I admire about is that Lisi has that courage and audacity, which doesn't mean I think he's right, okay? But I think that people have to propose ideas of the ambition of this idea if we are ever to solve these big problems.
FREEMAN: Garrett Lisi may be the first man to discover the mathematics of creation, succeeding where great minds like Einstein failed.
But what if he's wrong? Or, worse, what if there is no math that unifies the universe? Well, that wouldn't trouble this man, because he believes that the creator is not out there in the cosmos.
He believes God exists inside our minds and that he might be able to summon him by throwing a switch.
For thousands of years, we have meditated, fasted, and communed.
We have prayed and chanted to make contact with the divine.
But what if all you need is a magnet on the right hemisphere of your brain to see God? This is Dominica.
She's a nursing student in Sudbury, Ontario.
She's about to experience God.
Dominica is not a visionary or a priest or a nun or even particularly religious.
DOM INICA: I do believe in God.
However, I don't believe that you have to go into church to talk to him 'cause he's everywhere.
FREEMAN: Dominica has agreed to participate in what she has been told is a simple relaxation experiment.
And this is the man who's going to lead Dominica into the light, Dr.
Michael Persinger.
He runs the mind consciousness lab in the basement of the science building at Laurentian University.
DR.
PERSINGER: Our primary research is involved with understanding the relationship between brain structure and function and experience.
And more specifically, is there a biological and brain basis to some of the concepts that are called the God belief and the God experience? FREEMAN: Dr.
Persinger is a neuroscientist.
He believes that God resides in our brains.
In fact, he even thinks he knows in which part of the brain.
One of the things we were really excited about was what's the brain basis sense of self? After all, that's the great human definition who we are.
And we knew it was tied to language and left-hemispheric processes.
But then we asked the question, what's the right-hemisphere equivalent? So we have this second sense in the right hemisphere.
And when you experience it, it's called the sense presence.
And we think that's the prototype of the God experience.
FREEMAN: All he has to do to create this God experience is place this yellow helmet on his subject's head.
He calls it the God helmet.
DR.
PERSINGER: Okay, so we're gonna put on the helmet.
Our approach was very simple.
If you want to study the brain, then let's look at the brain in the laboratory with an experiment.
Just follow the experience and let it come to you.
-All right? -Okay.
FREEMAN: After putting Dominica into a sealed chamber with no light, the research team will monitor her brain-wave activity for one hour.
In a few minutes, Dominica's brain waves start to order themselves into a relaxed pattern.
Then Dr.
Persinger activates a magnetic coil sitting over the right side of her brain.
It's no more powerful than a hair dryer, but it's designed to focus its energy on a small set of brain cells in the right temporal lobe.
Those cells, he believes, will stimulate in Dominica a sense that someone or something is present.
DR.
PERSINGER: We hypothesize that, as the human being developed the ability to forecast their own self-dissolution, their own death, which is tremendously anxiety-generating, that another concept emerged which allowed that anxiety to be reduced.
And whatever that concept was, it had certain parameters.
It had to be infinite and forever and everywhere.
Otherwise it would have an end.
If you have an end, then you have anxiety.
So there had to be a concept inculcated within the brain itself that there is something out there that goes on forever.
And if you somehow relate to it and can be a part of it, the idea of anxiety becomes a nonevent.
FREEMAN: Dr.
Persinger believes the efforts of our brains' right temporal lobe to relieve the anxiety of death is what we sense when we think we are sensing the divine.
And he's designed his God helmet to produce that sense on demand.
Dominica? DOM INICA: Yes? Okay, I'm about ready to come in.
Just relax.
FREEMAN: For one hour, Dominica has been shut inside the chamber without light or sound, alone with her thoughts and perhaps also with God? DR.
PERSINGER: You said you felt the presence of something.
Yeah, there's, like, other things around me.
Okay, can you describe them? Not There were just bodies of nothing, not doing anything, just chilling.
How many were just chilling? ( Laughs ) Um DR.
PERSINGER: She actually counted them.
-You see her move her hand? -MAN: Yeah.
She was actually re-creating it.
Yeah.
FREEMAN: More than 80% of Dr.
Persinger's subjects, whether they are religious believers or not, sense a presence from the God helmet.
DR.
PERSINGER: When the right hemisphere is being stimulated, she felt a presence of things around her, five entities that were faceless.
I can see, like, down my body was, like, up more so I could only see, like, above.
How Above? -Yeah.
-Okay.
She had these marked, intense feelings of visual sensations in the always the upper visual field.
Did you notice that? That's typical of the temporal lobe being activated.
I see you checked here that, "The experiences did not come from my own mind.
" Can you describe that? I was, like, watching myself.
So it wasn't me feeling like I was watching myself lying on the road.
I didn't feel like my head was attached to me.
-You felt like what? -My head wasn't attached.
Okay, so you felt like your head was attached somewhere else? -Yeah.
-Okay.
Now, also it says you saw vivid images this time.
Yeah, there's, like, heat coming up, like fire coming up around.
Which one did you like the best, the first or the second? The first one.
You liked the first one? Okay.
I want to float again.
That was cool.
( Laughs ) Okay, well.
I'm not too much liking the fire part, the second one, but I don't know.
The first one was awesome.
DR.
PERSINGER: She had a classic experience that takes place in the chamber.
Now imagine what that would be if she was sitting in a church pew or a synagogue or a mosque or, for that matter, laying by herself at night in the middle of her bed and this happened.
Can you imagine how she would label it and the impact it would have on her entire life? There we go.
FREEMAN: Dr.
Persinger's work raises the extraordinary possibility not just that spiritual experiences can be induced, but that some of the most intense and influential religious visions in history may have their root in nothing more than the wiring of the human brain.
Abraham Moses Native American shamans almost all religious leaders and spiritual guides have attested that they were struck by vivid and thunderous messages from the creator himself.
DR.
PERSINGER: In the history of religious experience, many of the great religious thinkers have had electrical ability in the temporal lobe.
Luther, as you know, who started Lutheranism, was struck by lightning.
These are brief events that have a powerful impact on people during those critical times of their life.
And, really, the great challenge to science and this is the exciting part is not so much the fact that the brain's generating the experiences, it's what are the stimuli? You've seen a few examples of the crude stimuli, when we apply magnetic fields.
But what about natural stimuli? What about stimuli that are manufactured or manipulated by societies? What about intrinsic chemical changes? And what about all those stimuli we don't know yet that can produce the most powerful experience in the history of humankind, the God experience? FREEMAN: For thousands of years, billions of humans have built their lives around the cherished idea that a creator was out there looking down on them, caring for them, a God who is both creator and protector.
Dr.
Persinger's God helmet forces us to consider a radical re-imagining of human experience.
God may not have created us.
He may not be protecting us.
God may simply be in our minds.
But one scientist has an even more radical take on the creator, one that flips Dr.
Persinger's theory on its head.
This time, it's God that's real and we that are imaginary.
Our creator may actually be a cosmic computer coder, and we might be nothing more than a simulation.
In the blockbuster hit video game "The Sims," this software genius created a world filled with digital people not too different from you and me.
WRIGHT: Well, the Sims inside the computer really are digital re-creations.
They're simulations of humans.
And so we basically have to describe to the computer all of the kind of overall aspects that we think, you know, encompass humanity.
I think humans are very good at displacing our identity into others.
We call that empathy.
And so a lot of the game is based around the empathy that you're feeling with the Sims so that what they experience, basically, is what you're experiencing at one level removed.
FREEMAN: But consider this.
How much empathy do you think you could feel with this Sim? And how much with this one? The rate of increase in computing power that we've seen in the past few decades shows no sign of abating.
And the level of realism of computer simulations is bound to keep pace with that.
When our Sims look as real as our friends, won't the lines separating our real lives from our virtual lives begin to blur? WRIGHT: Computers and games and simulations are kind of on this path of increased reality.
You can see this in computer graphics and movies.
As we experience these things at these very granular levels of detail, again, these experiences, I think, are starting to blur the line between real experiences and virtual experiences.
FREEMAN: Well, who's to say we're not there already? One scientist from the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California, believes we might be and that the evidence could be all around us.
Rich Terrile has helped design missions to Mars, discovered four new moons around Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus, and taken pictures of a distant solar system.
He has a logical mind and a love for technology.
Now he's bringing that logic to a bigger question Who or what is the creator? For a God-centered universe, one has to think, well, first, what are the requirements for God? God is an interdimensional being connected with everything in the universe, a creator responsible for the universe, and, in some way, can change the laws of physics if he wanted to.
I think those are pretty good requirements for what God ought to be.
FREEMAN: Terrile thinks those requirements for God, making the laws of the universe and changing things at will, sound an awful lot like what programmers do when they create simulated environments.
And then he started thinking about how much computing power it would take to create our world, our planet, all its life, and all of our brains.
TERRILE: Moore's law is that computational power tends to double about every two years or 18 months.
Actually, in the last 18 years, it's been doubling every 13 months.
Right now, the fastest computers on the planet are now comparable or even exceeding the computational ability of the human brain as we estimate it.
That's about one million billion operations per second.
Where it's taking us is that in the next year, that'll double.
In the next decade, that'll increase by a factor of 500.
So a decade from now, our supercomputers will be about 500 times faster than the human brain.
FREEMAN: Rich is sure that computers a decade from now will be able to create a photoreal simulation of all that we see around us.
But can a computer ever populate a simulated world with thinking beings like us? The answer is inside this box.
TERRILE: Suppose I have a box.
And in the box I've got, you know, a human brain, which is the mind, or a person, and I've got a laptop computer.
The human brain and a laptop computer are about the same weight.
They're about the same volume.
And they take about the same amount of power.
Yet the human brain is about than a current-day laptop.
Well, suppose this is a laptop computer from 50 years from now, and I have them both in the box, and I start asking them questions, and I don't know which one is answering.
If I can't tell the difference between a human being answering questions and a computer answering questions, then, qualitatively, they're equivalent.
And if I believe that the human is conscious and self-aware, I must also believe that the machine has the same qualities.
FREEMAN: Once computers have the power to simulate artificially intelligent beings inside a photorealistic representation of planet Earth, the ramifications are truly profound.
TERRILE: Suppose we have an enormous simulation and we're simulating artificial intelligence.
We created this universe.
We're able to change the laws of physics.
We're able to do all the things, all of those requirements that we put on God.
The rise of the machines is close at hand.
Already, computers are taking over many of the day-to-day functions in our world.
Are they already in charge? Is our creator some kind of cosmic computer genius? Rich Terrile thinks we might be living in some kind of giant simulation, that our creator might be using a supercomputer with godlike powers.
And he thinks he's found evidence for it in nature.
There is one surefire way to tell if you're looking at a computer simulation.
Zoom in.
Every computer-generated image, no matter how realistic, breaks down into pixels when you get close enough.
You might think this doesn't happen in the real world, but you'd be wrong.
In the past century, physicists have discovered that matter really is made of tiny, little pixels, fundamental, indivisible particles billions of times smaller than an atom.
The theory that explains all this, quantum mechanics, applies not just to matter, but to the entire universe.
Look at the way the universe behaves.
It's quantized.
It's made of pixels.
And it's made of individual atoms.
Space is quantized.
Time is quantized.
Energy is quantized.
Everything is made of individual pixels, which means the universe has a finite number of components, which means it has a finite number of states, which means it's computable.
FREEMAN: Quantum mechanics means it's possible everything we see could really be produced by lines of code inside a powerful computer.
But are there any signs the universe is actually being computed? In the physics lab at Caltech, an experiment that's now almost 100 years old offers a vital clue.
We're in a small room at the physics lab at Caltech, looking at an experiment that was originally done in 1928.
This experiment takes an electron beam and transmits it through a piece of graphite.
And what we're looking at is the electrons kind of going through the graphite and forming this kind of diffuse blob.
Now, an interesting thing is, when we focus the beam on the graphite, we find a very, very interesting pattern.
FREEMAN: The experiment consists of a gun which fires electrons at a target of graphite atoms and a collecting screen to record how they ricocheted off it.
If this apparatus was scaled up a billion times and the gun fired real bullets, the pattern on the collecting screen would just be a random smear of bullet holes.
But in the scaled-down subatomic world, the electron ricochets are not random.
The pattern on the screen reflects the pattern of atoms in the target.
Each electron seems to sense where every atom in the graphite is, even though the target is much bigger than it.
It's as if the electrons are not dots, but spread out.
TERRILE: The electrons somehow know where all the atoms are, and they form this diffraction pattern.
The experiment shows something really rather extraordinary, and that is that matter, even though it behaves when you're looking at it, when you're measuring it, as individual particles, when you're not measuring it, matter is diffuse.
It spreads out.
It doesn't have a finite form in the universe.
FREEMAN: These basic rules of quantum mechanics apply to all tiny subatomic particles.
When we look at them, they are just dots.
When we look away, they lose their physical form.
A different way of looking at that is to say, well, how parallel is this behavior with what I see in my PlayStation 3 when I'm playing a video game? In a PlayStation 3, an example of that is "SimCity.
" It's an enormous city.
I can navigate my way through every bit of it because the PlayStation, the video game, gives me the frame that I need when I'm looking there.
If I look somewhere else, it'll create that frame.
Well, oddly enough, the universe behaves that way in reality.
The universe gives you what you're looking at when you're looking at it.
When you're not looking at it, it's not necessarily there.
FREEMAN: Our world is pixilated and only assumes definite form when observed, the very same way our computer simulations behave.
Rich Terrile has tried to work out the probability that we might be living in a simulation to quantify the possibility that there is a God.
The question is, how likely is something like that to happen? And how likely is it that it has already happened in our universe? Now let's step back from that a little bit and say, well, you know, the universe is 13.
7 billion years old, and here I am 50 years from basically being able to manufacture God.
What's the probability that I would be so close to that threshold and not be across the other side? It's one chance in 300 million that I would be that close.
It's an extraordinary coincidence.
And, perhaps, more likely than not, maybe we are a simulation on the other side of that threshold and the deities that exist are our future selves.
FREEMAN: Our world bears all the hallmarks of one that is simulated.
And, Rich's logic continues, who would be more likely to simulate humans than humans from the future our descendants, godlike beings with the power to create their own universes? It's a very radical idea of the creator.
But for Rich, it's not without spirituality.
TERRILE: One can ask, "What are you really saying? Are you saying that the world is a simulation and we're just entities in some PlayStation 12 game or something like that?" I'm not saying that.
I actually think this is a very, very wonderful phenomenon.
I take great solace in this.
It shows that somewhere along the line, we have evolved from nothing into self-awareness, and that self-awareness has reached the stage now where our future selves have become gods.
This is a wonderful To me, that's a very, very spiritual thing.
And that's where my spirituality comes from in seeing things like that.
To me, that's a religion.
FREEMAN: It's been said that God fills in the cracks in our knowledge.
Some see these cracks getting smaller.
LISl: We see this constantly in physics that we start out with something that looks complex, and as we look at its parts, its parts are simpler.
Now, if you imagine some sort of creator, that assumes that there's something more complicated than the thing that got created.
So, to me, that's a step backwards in explaining a philosophically satisfying model.
FREEMAN: For others, the expansion of scientific knowledge will never fill in all the cracks.
There'll always be room for faith, be it in a creator who is our descendant or in the gods of our ancestors.
POLKINGHORNE: I think that the questions that arise from science they give us some sort of notion of the existence of God.
But they leave many other questions about God unresolved.
And we also, I think, are bound to recognize that we finite beings will never totally understand God.
FREEMAN: The human instinct that drives our scientific curiosity won't stop us from searching for answers.
Perhaps one day soon, science will provide us with a new method to look up and out through the cosmic pane of glass that separates us from the true creator of our world