As for it not being able to work physically in a universe as we understand it, I gave it a lot of thought, and there’s at least one universe where it would be quite at home — a simulated universe. In terms of physics, the whole focus on gravity or electromagnetism as causes is probably missing …
I knew you were just waiting to point that out. For just about any hard problem in the universe a reasonable case could be made for how it could be resolved in an SH one. It has massive explanatory power and this is normally a good thing and is a characteristic of a strong hypothesis. However it is the one thing I find hardest to swallow and I still believe one of the biggest reasons to reject SH completely. Simply put it is too good to be true. Not good as in boy wouldn’t it be great if it were true but good as in easy good. It provides and easy answer to any hard question anyone would ever or could ever think to ask. Don’t know why your wife had to die, easy, it’s part of the program. The people running the simulation like to see how we react to tragedy, or the people who created the simulation lost control ten thousand years ago and an error crept into the “software” as a result evil was introduced. In order to cover up for this blunder religion was programmed in the next day with the garden of eden myth prepopulated as a baseline history.
Have a hard science problem you just can’t figure out? Why have we still not been able to reconcile einsteinian/newtonian gravity with quantum mechanics? Simple really, the simulation has set up the various physical parameters of the “universe” in such way as to “fool” us from seeing the “real” “reality” because if we did we might find a way to break through into their world and then all this fun would be over. Or how about, the simulation includes in all of our brains a default override that prevents knowledge of this particular topic from ever being remembered. As soon as someone figures out the problem it is immediately forgotten. To prevent an accidental “team work” discovery even significant parts related to a possible discovery have the same safety. Or even, it doesn’t matter, nothing matters, it’s all just a simulation anyway why bother trying anymore, in fact why bother doing anything?
Others have pointed this out and it is so true, in almost all respects a simulated universe can substitute for any God or Gods in any religion. It is the polyultramegaGod. It is only limited by our own imaginations which, by the way may actually be limited intentionally, by the program and/or programmers of the simulated universe. In sum it is possible to imagine a way for SH to account for any and all of life, the universe, and everything (with apologies to Douglas Addams) without even breaking a sweat.
A partially simulated universe depending on the exact “amount” and “type” of simulation might avoid the too good to be true problem I see as almost fatal for SH in its strongest form. At first I thought using partial simulation might be a way to think about designing experiments to test for a simulated universe but that seems unlikely. It does do a nice job in this role as a possible response to the too good to be true problem aka SH is just a replacement God problem. An older piece on partial simulation I wrote a while ago is below. Sorry for the name check (hah! check) Martin but it is in a good way I think. Am I wrong that this is a problem? If so why?