Controversy swirled around the state of Kansas back in 2005 when its State Board of Education decided to allow Intelligent Design to be taught as a possible theory for the origin of life in the universe along with evolution. The theory posited that the current understanding of how life is formed suggests that it is by design – implying that life as we know it did not come about randomly but was most likely created by an intelligent being. While not directly mentioning religion or any specific deity, overzealous critics were quick to pounce on the state’s decision to even dare suggest that anything other than evolution alone could be the possible explanation for life on Earth.
In their paranoia, opponents of the Intelligent Design theory insisted that it was nothing more than religious beliefs disguised underneath a scientific cover. A Trojan Horse for Christianity, so to speak.
In 2007, two years after the names of everyone involved in the Intelligent Design theory had been thoroughly dragged through the mud and Kansas had been made the laughingstock of the nation, the Sunflower State quietly retired the theory from being taught in schools. The smug outrage against giving students differing views to consider had won in the end.
Fast forward to 2019 and prominent scientific minds from Elon Musk to Neil deGrasse Tyson have been openly sharing an affinity for another possible explanation for the origin of life: Simulation Theory. At its core, Simulation Theory is the concept that life is a simulation with parameters and rules built in (such as gravity and space-time) like a very complex computer program.
Everyone from astrophysicists to modern philosophers have taken to the idea as a very cogent hypothesis. While many concede it would be a difficult if not impossible theory to test in a lab, they often acknowledge the mathematical probability of Simulation Theory being true is quite high – and it matches up with the observable universe.
Of course, nobody has mentioned the obvious implication of Simulation Theory. That is, if we are indeed living in a computer program, who is the programmer? It doesn’t take long to arrive back at Intelligent Design, the original Simulation Theory that was tarred and feathered not so long ago.
None of this is written to suggest one way or the other that Intelligent Design is true. But the fact we couldn’t even discuss it in a rational way in schools is a sign of the dogmatic zealotry exhibited by many in the supposedly “educated” class during Kansas’ mild inclusion of a theory that is even compatible with their own. Despite having their careers ruined and reputations smeared, Intelligent Design advocates should feel vindicated by the serious consideration currently being given to Simulation Theory.