The greatest threat to humanity is not natural disasters, epidemics or wars. It is the possibility that the wrong people will discover how our virtual reality operates before the right people do.
As much as mainstream science does not like to accept it, it is quite possible that our world is some form of virtual reality. I call it a functional virtual reality because it allows some basic freedom of choice that is within the constraints of the virtual physical laws that govern it.
In my book Beyond Intelligent Design I outline a plausible mechanism that creates this virtual reality. It is based on the occasionalism doctrine of Cartesian philosophers of the 17th century. In a nutshell, what we perceive as causes as no more than occasions on which a universal mechanism acts to bring about the effects. In the 17th century, philosophers called this mechanism God to avoid prosecution but they knew it was something of mechanical nature. Nowadays, we may call this universal mechanism “spacetime.”
All this is falsifiable science, despite claims to the opposite. There are some predictions that arise from this science that we may soon be able to test in an effort to falsify it. Of course, experiments do not prove any theory but only corroborate it due to the impossibility (underdetermination) to confirm theories by data. However, this is not the main problem in case our world is a virtual reality.
The problem is that the wrong people may manage to figure out how this functional virtual reality operates and how to change its code from “within.” In that case, humanity will cease to exist as we know it. This could be the biggest weapon of and the ultimate tool of control. Therefore, although this may sound like a stretch of imagination, and actually I hope it is, modern science should consider this possibility and act. Refusal to even diverge a little from the doctrine of an autonomous or even quasi-autonomous world may end up costing a lot.
The autonomy of the world is neither evident from the phenomena nor it can be supported by any physical theory. As a matter of fact, special relativity does not support the autonomy of this world but a spacetime of processes, also known as sequences of spacetime points, which exist eternally. This theory excludes non-autonomy by sacrificing freedom of choice and action. One cannot have both: if the world is autonomous, there is no freedom of action, and if it is non-autonomous it supports limited freedom of action within certain bounds. Furthermore, Zeno’s paradoxes, which are unsolved despite popular misconceptions, tell us that there can be no flux or fluxions in neither continues or digital spacetime. All these are explained in the book Beyond Intelligent Design.
Even Descartes understood that this world is a virtual reality. Modern science has decided to obscure his claims and they are only known in a small circle of people. This is Descartes’ doctrine of the continuous recreation of the world at every instant by an immutable God.
If our world is a virtual reality of some kind and there is some way of altering the code from within it, there are many possibilities for the advancement of humanity but also many dangers in case this knowledge falls in the wrong hands. Neglecting the hypothesis with the highest probability and instead relentlessly trying to discover the particle that makes everything possible is a wrong turn in science and poses great dangers, possibly the greatest of all.