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As we recently learned, you and I might be holograms projected from the edges of the universe. In case you missed it:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126911.300-our-world-may-be-a-giant-hologram.html


So what happens if the universe is expanding? It seems to me our holograms would change positions. Perhaps this explains what we perceive as movement. The edge of the universe moves, and suddenly I think I'm driving my car someplace.

The other thing that might happen is that our images would grow in size, the same way a projector's image grows as you back it up from the screen. We wouldn't notice the growth because everything would grow at the same time, with denser objects growing just a bit faster, thus creating the illusion of gravity.

If any of that seems inconsistent with scientific observation, don't worry. The great thing about being a hologram is that our memories of the past are all false. So if you think our planet orbits the sun, maybe you only remember learning that and it never happened. All bets are off when you are a hologram.

If our memories are false, you'd expect to see some inconsistencies in the historical record, just because all those false memories wouldn't fit together seamlessly. The longer the history, the more likely there would be inconsistencies. For example, we might have a popular theory that the universe suddenly inflated from a dot of nothing, or that most of the universe is made of invisible dark matter, or particles can have spooky entanglement issues from a distance, or light can behave like both a particle and a wave. Check, check, check, and check. You're sure those things will be rationally explained by science someday, but I'll predict new inconsistencies will be formed in the process, to perpetuity.

If our reality is a hologram, you might also expect that the theory of evolution would have some head-scratching parts. Maybe something like this:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/180103?gt1=43002


If you are tempted to argue that I'm misinterpreting something here, based on your vast knowledge, remember that your knowledge is all false memory. Or maybe just half vast.

 
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Jan 23, 2009
But this new piece of knowledge you're offering is based on false memory too, Scott. You're basing it on bits of information such as the concept of a hologram or that there is even a "we" to be holograms instead of real people in the first place. C'mon man, you still haven't argued your way out of solipsism!
 
 
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Jan 23, 2009
I always enjoy your thought experiments Scott, but I have to call you out on this one.

There's some issues with your "theory", scientific ones, but since you called all that off bound I'll ignore it.

I do have some issues as to the validity of this as a thought experiment. You say that all memories, experiences, including the idea of individualism are all false, then that implies that all we register is the present, but since time is continuous that means that we don't even register that. The dimension analysis of what you're talking about is kinda shady, I wasn't able to figure it out since you would need a 4d projection to get a 3d image (Maybe i'm wrong here), but my mayor issue is with the fact that this gets to a point were a person cannot make statements about the theory because the theory invalidates the statement. Hell, the theory even invalidates the theory itself. You get to a point were you have no scientific certainty, no ability to make concepts based on your own ideas, and no "reality" as we know it. You might as say "Hell, I reckon that because there's no way to escape a black hole, a black hole is really a command module for a sentient being that controls the universe through the temporal alteration of black matter." I have no problem with thought experiments, but going from the fact that subspace is grainy to this... too much for me (and i'm an engineering student, I can't even imagine what the physicists would say).

Anyways, first post on here, maybe had some incoherencies on what I wrote but overall I love the comics and the thought experiments.
 
 
Jan 23, 2009
Well you are wrong, and that's not a hologram. Light doesn't act like a particle and a wave, electrons do. And while you're pondering your mistake, it might be a decent time to understand that objects growing larger wouldn't give the effect of gravity.
 
 
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Jan 23, 2009
I am probably blundering straight into the trap here, but I read that article and I thought that the "hologram" part was really just a very extended metaphor, and wouldn't mean our world is in any way false even if it is true. To try and make my own metaphor, just because the holograms you see in a museum are illusions, doesn't mean the projector making them isn't real. (To be fair I also have read up on Boltzmann Brains, a concept which I do find genuinely disturbing as a contender for the "nothing you know is real anyway" award.)

As for the theory of evolution bit, well

a) You might find this interesting - http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126923.000-editorial-uprooting-darwins-tree.html
b) I still can't shake the feeling our favourite author is using any bit of possible news that comes along as a stick to poke evolution with, in the hope that someone will fly off the handle somewhere and provide great amusement. Intellectual trolling, you could call it.
 
 
Jan 23, 2009
"We are a hologram" means the more-fundamental structure of the universe is 3-dimensional (2 space and 1 time dimension), not 4-dimensional (3 space and 1 time dimension). Time is the same in either case.
 
 
Jan 23, 2009
Half vast? ...Nice!
 
 
Jan 23, 2009
The idea that our universe is just a hologram doesn't necessarily imply that our memories are false. All it means that our universe is governed by a different set of laws than we thought. This happens all the time as we get better and better and looking at tiny bits that make up the fabric of reality. But if we're assuming these laws act consistently, then the new laws are no more or no less likely to produce false memories than the laws we think govern the universe now. We could assume they don't act consistenly, but we could do the same things with the laws we have now.

Of course, the idea of all our memories being false is valid, but its not predicated on everything being a hologram. We could easily say that "God created the entire universe yesterday, and all our memories with it" and end up at the exact same place.
 
 
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Jan 23, 2009
If I were to send something with Dilbertfiles and the recipient were to claim he never got it, would you argue that my having sent it was a false memory?
 
 
Jan 23, 2009
Nice one, Scott, I love those insular, by self-definition impossible to contradict arguments. Very well-constructed.
 
 
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Jan 23, 2009
I've always preferred Lamarckian Evolution. Darwinian random mutation is fun and all, but it seems too slow to explain differences in humans that correlate with geography.
 
 
Jan 23, 2009
I guess if the money I invested in stocks and shares in the last few years was just a hologram, that would probably explain why it's all disappeared.
 
 
Jan 23, 2009
Simply the most insightful scientific analysis I've seen in years.

Also, the hologram increases our sarcasm level with time.
 
 
Jan 23, 2009
No, we don't grow larger, our resolution goes up. (we become more refined, yay!)
 
 
 
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